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Utilities spark FTSE gains

Wednesday, 20th June 2018
The FTSE 100 remained in positive territory thanks to an uplift from utility companies.

Severn Trent (SVT) led the way with a 2.1% jump to £19.09 while United Utilities (UU.) rose 2% to 790.2p.

Other noticeable risers were Imperial Brands (IMB), up 7.4% and British American Tobacco (BATS), up 2% at 790.2p.

The FTSE 100 closed 0.3% higher at 7,627 and was a stronger advance than most other parts of Europe. For example, Germany's DAX rose 0.2% to 12,709.

Brent crude oil was stable at $75 around barrel.


Wall Street on Wednesday mostly recovered from Tuesday's sell-off with the exception of the Dow Jones, which slipped 0.2% to 24,651 around 4:45pm UK time.


Sky (SKY) jumped 3.1% to £13.80 after Disney increased its offer for 21st Century Fox to $71.3bn in cash and shares, up from an earlier $52bn offer. Fox is currently trying to buy the remaining proportion of Sky that it doesn't already own, competing against a bid from Comcast.

Housebuilder Berkeley (BKG) revealed it is at peak profitability, warning it will return to more normal levels from the current financial year where profit is anticipated to fall by 30%. Its shares weakened 5.9% to £38.93.

At power generation business ContourGlobal (GLO) non-executive director Daniel Camus snapped up approximately £37,000 worth of shares, triggering a 3.7% rise in the stock to 224p.

Online grocer Ocado (OCDO) accelerated 5.5% to £10.01 following a positive broker note from Peel Hunt, which dubbed the company 'The Microsoft of Retail.'

British mining company Sirius Minerals (SXX) secured an offtake agreement for future polyhalite production with ITL, helping the stock advance 2% to 32.06p.


Magnolia Petroleum (MAGP) signed a non-binding deal with Western Energy Development for the sale of 13 wells for $500,000. Shares in the oil and gas explorer surged 26.3% to 0.6p.

Structural steel play Severfield (SFR) jumped 3.2% to 84.4p on strong full year results showing a 19% increase in underlying pre-tax profit to £23.5m and a 13% hike in the total dividend to 2.6p.

Severfield, whose recent projects include Tottenham Hotspur FC's new stadium and the retractable roof for court number one at Wimbledon, also announced a special dividend of 1.7p.

At cyber security company NCC (NCC), finance director Brian Tenner decided to leave to pursue other interests, causing the shares to slide 2.1% to 208.4p.

Agricultural products manufacturer Wynnstay (WYN) benefited from an ongoing recovery in the agricultural sector, delivering robust half year results. The stock was marked 1.2% higher to 462.8p.

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