Wealth Manager - the site for professional investment managers

Register to get unlimited access to Citywire’s fund manager database. Registration is free and only takes a minute.

Unilever leads FTSE higher as pound wavers on Cameron speech

Unilever leads FTSE higher as pound wavers on Cameron speech

Britain’s internationally-angled FTSE 100 rose on Wednesday morning, led by emerging market success story Unilever, but the pound came under pressure as investors watched prime minister David Cameron announce that Britons would be offered a referendum on the country’s place in Europe.

The FTSE 100 rose by 0.3% in early trading, taking it to within just four points of the 6,200 mark. European indices followed US markets higher, after strong earnings reports from big corporations including Google had provided a late Tuesday boost.

Investors were looking ahead to a vote in the Republican-controlled US House of Representatives that would extend the debt limit for four months.

Asian indices were mixed, though Japan’s Nikkei 225 dropped by 2%.

On currency markets the pound edged lower, down 0.15% to $1.5811 with Cameron’s speech causing some jitters, as well as nervousness around UK economic reports due later in the morning.

Unilever emerging market boost

Unilever (ULVR.L) led the FTSE 100, up 2.8% to 2521p, after strong growth in emerging markets helped the consumer goods maker to beat sales estimates, with full year sales growth of 6.9%.

Paul Polman, Unilever’s chief executive, commented: ‘Emerging markets again contributed double-digit growth helping us exceed €50 billion turnover, an important milestone in our journey to double the size of Unilever from €40 to €80 billion.’

Pablo Zuanic at Liberum kept his ‘buy’ rating on Unilever shares, with a target price of 3100p, saying that today’s results supported management’s recent guidance that ‘it should be able to deliver margin expansion year after year and sales growth above peers’.

Panmure Gordon analysts also reiterated their 'buy' recommendation on Unilever: 'The outlook remains the same; further sales growth ahead of the market and continued steady and sustainable margin expansion,' they said.

BT upgrade, United Utilities boosted by bid rumours

BT (BT.L) was among the morning's other FTSE winners, with shares up by 1.3% to 253 after analysts at Bernstein raised their rating to ‘outperform’ from ‘market perform’ as part of a review of European telecoms companies.

United Utilities (UU.L) was also making gains, up 1.67% to 729p, amid news reports based on market rumours that a consortium was planning a bid for the London-listed water group

Compass, Kingfisher drop

Kingfisher (KGF.L) shares dropped by 1.4% to 269p after Deutsche Bank downgraded their target price for the Homebase owner to 290p. ‘Last week's data from Homebase and the Banque de France suggest market weakness and continued downside risk to Kingfisher's Q4 profits,’ said analyst Warwick Okines, though he kept his ‘hold’ rating on the shares.

Catering company Compass (CPG.L) was the biggest faller on the FTSE 100, trading without its dividend appeal, down 2% at 744p.

Leave a comment!

Please sign in or register to comment. It is free to register and only takes a minute or two.
Citywire TV
Brewin's Gutteridge: what's behind the second oil crash?

Brewin's Gutteridge: what's behind the second oil crash?

This week Brewin Dolphin's research head talks to Will Riley, co-manager of the Guinness Global Energy fund, about what next for oil.  

Play AA-rated Bullas: what drove my UK small cap outperformance

AA-rated Bullas: what drove my UK small cap outperformance

AA-rated Richard Bullas has quietly been making a name for himself at the helm of the Franklin UK Smaller Companies fund.

Play Sector spotlight: how Harwood's Philbin is playing emerging markets

Sector spotlight: how Harwood's Philbin is playing emerging markets

Emerging markets have been a rollercoaster for investors, but amid the doom there have been have been bright spots, such as India. 

Your Business: Cover Star Club

Profile: CHI's bond supremo on liquidity and bond risk management

Profile: CHI's bond supremo on liquidity and bond risk management

'Some people have been extremely complacent about rate rise risk. Myself, I wish they would just get on with it.'

Wealth Manager on Twitter