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Builders and bookies get Budget boost, soft drinks lose fizz

Shares in house builders and book makers rise on the chancellor's tax plans, while soft drinks makers slump on news of sugar levy.

 
Builders and bookies get Budget boost, soft drinks lose fizz

Update: Shares in house builders and stock brokers have jumped after the Budget, after chancellor George Osborne revamped the ISA rules in a bid to boost savings levels and home ownership.

Osborne hiked the annual ISA allowance from its current £15,240 level to £20,000, prompting a jump in the shares of Hargreaves Lansdown (HRGV), up 1.4% at £13.10 and advice group St James's Place (SJP), 2.6% higher at 923p. The FTSE 100 rose 39 points, or 0.7%, to 6,179.

He also unveiled a 'lifetime ISA' targeted at savers under 40, with the government adding £1 for every £4 saved, to allow young people to save for both their retirement and a pension.

That helped lift shares in house builders, with Barratt Developments (BDEV) up 3.1% at 572.1p, Taylor Wimpey (TW) rising 2.9% to 186.7p and Persimmon (PSN) up 2.7% at £20.81.

Book makers meanwhile enjoyed a relief rally, as a feared clampdown on online advertising and hike to machine gaming duty failed to transpire.

Ladbrokes (LAD) rose to the top of the FTSE 250, up 7.3% at 123.3p, while William Hill (WMH) jumped 4.7% to 382.9p.

But shares in soft drinks companies tumbled on the chancellor's plans for higher taxes on sugary drinks. Irn Bru maker AG Barr (BAG) fell 4.2% to 533p while Fevertree (FEVR) dipped 1.4% to 626.5p.

Oil stocks added to gains, as the price of Brent crude rose above the $40 mark, up 3.5% on the day. Shell (RDSb) jumped 3% to £17.08 while BP (BP) was up 2.7% at 351.1p.

They were also handed a boost by a tax cut for North Sea oil producers, with Osborne halving the supplementary charge on oil and gas from 20% to 10%. That helped shares in Cairn Energy (CNE) jump 4.9% to 200.8p.

Builders and oil stocks boost FTSE

(10:17) The FTSE 100 edged higher in morning trading with investors reluctant to place big bets ahead of the Budget to be delivered this afternoon.

The UK blue-chip index rose 14 points, or 0.2%, to 6,155, supported by oil stocks as the price of Brent crude gained 1.2% to $39.19 as the latest American Petroleum Institute report showed a lower build-up of oil supplies than expected. BP (BP) rose 2.1% to 349p while Shell (RDSb) was up 1.7% at £16.85.

House builders, which have benefited from a series of property-boosting measures in recent Budgets, also rose. Barratt Developments (BDEV) was up 1.9% at 565.5p and Taylor Wimpey (TW) rose 1.3% to 183.8p. Chancellor George Osborne is expected to announce up to 5,000 homes could be built in new 'garden suburbs'.

Shares in London Stock Exchange (LSE) dipped 6p to £29.00 as the company announced it had reached a merger deal with rival Deutsche Boerse (DB1Gn.DE).

Tui AG (TUIT) was the biggest faller on the index, down 4.7% at 997p, as analysts at Citigroup downgraded the travel agent, while Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) fell 4.1% to £16.52 on a weak revenue outlook alongside full-year results.

That dragged down rivals, with Shire (SHP) falling 3.7% to £36.26, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) dropping 1.4% to £13.70 and AstraZeneca (AZN) 1.4% lower at £39.68.

Among 'mid cap' stocks, Thomas Cook (TCG) joined rival Tui AG in the red, down 6% at 95.5p, as it too fell victim to a Citigroup downgrade.

Tribal Group (TRBG) was the biggest 'small cap' faller, down 10.7% as the embattled education services producer unveiled a £47.3 million loss, cancelled its dividend and launched a £21 million rights issue. 

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