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FTSE 100 movers: Smiths rallies on results; Next gives back some gains

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Friday 24 Mar 2017

FTSE 100 movers: Smiths rallies on results; Next gives back some gains

(ShareCast News) - London's FTSE 100 was flat at 7,341.06 in afternoon trade, as investors looked to a key vote on a healthcare bill in the US.
Engineer Smiths Group was the standout riser as it reported flat first-half revenues of £1.6bn on an underlying basis but growth of 18% on a reported basis thanks to the weak pound.

Provident Financial got a boost as RBC Capital Markets upgraded the stock to 'outperform' from 'sector perform' and upped the price target to 3,200p from 3,000p, saying risks were to the upside ahead of the upcoming capital markets day.

The bank said Provident maintains a considerable surplus capital position and that its revised price target shows a 9% implied return with a 5% dividend yield, which it reckons justifies an outperform rating.

National Grid was on the front foot following two positive broker notes. JP Morgan Cazenove reiterated its 'overweight' stance on the stock, saying it has a strong investment case as its earnings momentum accelerates and represents a hedge to a reversal of the 'Trump' rally.

Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley resumed coverage of the stock at 'overweight', saying it was closing the value gap in the US.

"As better returns and growth in the US are delivered, the valuation discount should narrow. Crystallisation of further property value will be a positive, and all this underpinned by a strongly supportive macro backdrop enabling best in class RAB growth."

Clothing retailer Next was on the back foot, giving back some of the gains from the previous session, when it rose sharply despite reporting that underlying pre-tax profits fell 3.8% to £790.2m last year and warning that 2017 will be "another tough year" due to a shift away from spending on clothing and a squeeze on UK wages.

Admiral was weaker after UBS downgraded the stock to 'neutral' from 'buy' as it adjusted ratings on UK motor insurers following the reduction in the Ogden discount rate.

Risers

Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,591.00p 2.25%
Barclays (BARC) 226.20p 1.03%
Provident Financial (PFG) 2,958.00p 1.02%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 7,165.00p 0.99%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 761.00p 0.93%
Informa (INF) 641.00p 0.87%
National Grid (NG.) 1,015.50p 0.79%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,548.00p 0.78%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 5,210.00p 0.70%
Shire Plc (SHP) 4,695.50p 0.65%

Fallers

Next (NXT) 4,088.00p -2.64%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 2,110.00p -2.09%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 1,623.00p -1.58%
BT Group (BT.A) 326.20p -1.57%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,961.00p -1.56%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 332.40p -1.45%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 2,932.00p -1.28%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 2,002.00p -1.18%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 192.50p -1.18%
CRH (CRH) 2,799.00p -1.06%

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