Market report: Marshalls back on the right path

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Shares in Marshalls were on a firm footing today as solid first-half results helped the paving-slabs group return to pre-referendum levels.

In the first six months of 2016, sales at the FTSE 250 group rose 2% to £202.4 million and pre-tax profits jumped 21% to £25.1 million.

The interim dividend is also hiked from 2.25p a share last year to 2.9p.

Chief executive Martyn Coffey said the uncertainty in the wake of the Leave vote at the end of June “has not impacted underlying trading to date”.

On the whole, brokers were upbeat about the results, but Canaccord remained wary: “Despite its strength and sensible strategy, we remain cautious on the outlook into 2017, particularly on the larger commercial projects side.”

Nonetheless, the update reassured investors, lifting the shares by 10.5p to 324.6p.

They closed on June 23 at 324.1p before plummeting in the two days after the vote to just 207p.

The FTSE 100 finished a lacklustre week with more of a whimper than a bang as the blue-chip index backtracked 7.02 points to 6809.88.

Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen takes the stage at Jackson Hole today and investors will be paying close attention to comments on US interest rates.

Defence firm BAE Systems was among the top blue-chip risers as Berenberg upgraded to Buy in anticipation of a “substantial order book uplift”.

Sky slipped 3.03p to 869.97p even as broker Macquarie argued “the time is right” for 21st Century Fox to buy the 61% of the pay-TV giant it doesn’t own. 

San Leon Energy returned to trading with a bang after an eight-month hiatus. It rocketed 22.38p to 51.5p on the completion of a £170 million share placing at 45p per share to fund the purchase of a 10% stake in an onshore Nigerian block.

The deal was almost  10 times the AIM-listed oil group’s market value.

Property tycoon and tech start-up investor Nick Candy increased his stake in AIM-listed Audioboom to close to 13%, which boosted the podcast group’s shares by 0.3p to 2.85p.

The move, which follows a 40% slump this year, comes after Candy stepped down from the board earlier this month.

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August 26, 2016 |
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