Shares in telecoms, media and tech group Relx dropped as profits fell short of expectations despite a rebound in exhibitions following the pandemic.
The stock fell 1.9 per cent, or 44p, to 2267p after it reported a profit of nearly £1.8billion for 2021, up from £1.5billion in the prior year. Revenues crept up to £7.2billion from £7.1billion.
The results were supported by a 44 per cent bounce in revenues from the firm’s exhibition arm as the relaxation of social distancing measures in multiple countries permitted large public gatherings to take place once again.
Slump: Relx stock fell 1.9% after it reported a profit of nearly £1.8bn for 2021, up from £1.5bn in the prior year. Revenues crept up to £7.2bn from £7.1bn
Despite the rise in profits, the figures were lower than expected in the City.
The group also hiked its full-year dividend by 6 per cent to 49.8p per share and unveiled plans to buy back £500million worth of shares this year. However, both of these failed to stop the slide in the stock price.
By contrast, rival blue-chip publishing and exhibition organiser Informa shot to the top of the FTSE 100, gaining 7.4 per cent, or 42.6p, to 615.8p after striking a £1.9billion deal to sell Pharma Intelligence, its data analysis business focused on the drug and medical technology market.
The firm has agreed to sell the business to New York-based private equity firm Warburg Pincus.
The sale is part of the company’s strategy to streamline the business by selling off parts of its portfolio and using the funds to expand its remaining divisions.
Pharma Intelligence forms the largest part of Informa Intelligence, a portfolio of businesses that the group plans to sell.
Informa also unveiled a £100million share buyback using part of the proceeds from the sale.
Stock Watch – Watches of Switzerland
Watches of Switzerland ticked higher after upgrading its profit forecasts.
Rising demand for luxury watches helped boost the group’s sales by nearly 28 per cent to £348.1million in the three months to January 30, while revenues for its year-to-date were up 38 per cent at £934million.
The group’s sales of luxury jewellery surged by over 88pc in the three month period.
Revenues and profits were expected to be ‘towards the top end’ of its guidance.
Shares rose 2.7 per cent, or 34p, to 1318p.
The FTSE 100 ended the day up 0.4 per cent, or 28.98 points, at a post-pandemic high of 7672.4 while the FTSE 250 added 0.1 per cent, or 23.74 points, to reach 22207.75.
Traders were digesting a surge in US inflation, which hit a 40-year high of 7.5 per cent in January and sparked fears of sharper interest rate rises from the Federal Reserve.
Major miners provided some support to the blue-chip index, with Rio Tinto up 2.4 per cent, or 135p, to 5807p while copper giant Antofagasta added 4.2 per cent, or 54.5p, to 1344.5p.
Polymetal International also jumped 3.3 per cent, or 36.5p, to 1128p and Anglo American added 2.3 per cent, or 81.5p, to 3599.5p.
AstraZeneca, meanwhile, bounced 3.4 per cent, or 286p, to 8650p on the back of strong results.
Mid-cap investment manager Ashmore saw profits drop by nearly a quarter – 23 per cent to £116million – in the six months to the end of December as its assets were hit by ‘negative sentiment’ in emerging markets.
Assets under management had dropped 8 per cent to £64.2billion amid fears over inflation, slower growth in China, Covid-19 variants and the tightening of US monetary policy. Despite this, the shares rose 0.7 per cent, or 1.8p, to 280.8p.
Beazley reinstated its dividend after the firm swung back into profit amid strong demand for its cyber-attack insurance.
The specialist insurance group posted a pre-tax profit for 2021 of £271million, up from a £37million loss the previous year, as the value of its written premiums climbed 30 per cent to £3.4billion. But the shares dropped 2.1 per cent, or 10.4p, to 487.1p.
Construction group MJ Gleeson gained 0.8 per cent, or 6p, to 720p after upgrading its profit forecasts following strong results.
For the six months to the end of December, pre-tax profits were up nearly 22 per cent at £24.7million while revenues jumped to £173.5million from £142.6million.
Rival housebuilder Redrow also upgraded its forecasts after it posted record revenues for the six months to January 2.
They rose to £1.05billion from £1.04billion while pre-tax profits jumped to £203million from £174million as rising house prices offset cost inflation. Despite the rise, shares fell 1.3 per cent, or 8p, to 617.4p.
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