FTSE 100 Live: Markets steady after US inflation boost, Entain results

Haleon shares continue decline, OSB up 3%

More heavy selling today worsened the hangover being felt by GSK shareholders since the drugs giant’s consumer healthcare demerger.

The spin-off Haleon business, which was targeted by Unilever in a £50 billion takeover approach last year, replicated yesterday’s 8% slide by losing another 21.8p to 257p.

Haleon, whose other brands include Aquafresh and Advil, opened at 330p in mid-July after GSK split off the unit in its biggest corporate restructuring move in two decades.

The City’s caution reflects concerns over Haleon’s starting debt position and worries that cash-strapped consumers will shun big brands in favour of supermarket own-label products.

As well as a sharp fall in their new Haleon holdings, GSK shareholders have also seen a decline in the value of the stand-alone pharmaceuticals business. GSK weakened another 2% or 20.6p to 1536p, which compares with more than 1700p at the end of July.

Haleon was the biggest faller in a session when the FTSE 100 index failed to keep pace with the bounce seen for European and Asian markets after yesterday’s softer-than-expected US inflation figure.

The top flight weakened 7.55 points to 7499.56, although some of this weakness was due to trading in heavyweight stocks such as Barclays and Rio Tinto being without the right to their latest dividend awards.

One of the best performances in the top flight came from bottling business Coca-Cola HBC, which jumped 2% or 37p to 2018p after its half-year results showed a 23% rise in underlying earnings. Full year guidance was also reinstated, having been withdrawn in the wake of disruption to its operations in Russia and Ukraine.

There was also encouragement for M&G shareholders after the investment manager reported improved client flows in half-year results, sending shares 4.5p higher to 222p.

Blue-chip fallers included specialist engineering group Spirax-Sarco, which dipped 175p to 11,825p despite growing adjusted half-year profits by 10% to £175.2 million and reporting record order books across its three divisions.

The FTSE 250 index was 51.01 points lower at 20,246.99, although the recent improvement for specialist lender and savings business OSB continued after its underlying profits rose 16% to a record £294.1 million. The shares added 3% or 15.5p to 563p.

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