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FTSE 100 Closes Up on Higher Oil Prices Amid Ukraine Conflict

The FTSE 100 closed up on Wednesday despite the war in Ukraine, with oil giants such as BP and Shell rising as the price of oil continues to trade at over $100 a barrel on fears that sanctions could lead to a major disruption to energy supplies. "The latest surge in crude came despite the International Energy Agency releasing barrels from its emergency reserves--demonstrating relative impotence in the face of the disruption to supply caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine," AJ Bell said. The day's top riser was Polymetal International which closed up 19%, followed by U.K. engineering company Rolls-Royce whose shares closed up 6.8%.

Companies News: 

Aviva to Acquire Succession Wealth for GBP385 Mln to Strengthen Position in U.K.

Aviva PLC said Wednesday that it will buy Succession Wealth for 385 million pounds ($513 million) in a deal that strengthens its position in the growing U.K. market.


Persimmon 2021 Pretax Profit Rose on Higher Completions, Selling Prices

Persimmon PLC said Wednesday that pretax profit rose in 2021 on the back of an increase in homes sold and higher selling prices.


Weir Group's Full-Year Pretax Profit Rise Misses Guidance

Weir Group PLC on Wednesday reported a rise in pretax profit for 2021, which missed its own guidance, and said that it expects to post strong growth in revenue and profit for 2022.


Europa Oil & Gas Acquisition of Exploration License in Ireland Falls Through

Europa Oil & Gas (Holdings) PLC said Wednesday that it won't acquire the Frontier exploration license offshore Ireland after DNO North Sea (U.K.) Ltd. chose to end the sale-and-purchase agreement.


Hiscox Swung to a 2021 Pretax Profit; Sees Outlook as Positive

Hiscox Ltd. on Wednesday reported a swing to a pretax profit for 2021 and said that it expects to close 2022 as a good year.


Aviva PLC Pretax Profit Fell in 2021; To Increase 2022 Dividend by 40%

Aviva PLC on Wednesday posted a fall in pretax profit for 2021, but upgraded its dividend policy for 2022 and 2023.


Vistry 2021 Profit, Revenue Rose; Sees Strong Start to 2022

Vistry Group PLC said Wednesday that 2021 pretax profit significantly rose along with revenue, and it reported a strong start to this year with increased average sales.


Vertu Motors Raises FY 2022 Profit Guidance

Vertu Motors PLC on Wednesday raised financial guidance for the year ended Feb. 28, reflecting higher margins amid sector tailwinds and limited vehicle supply.


Foxtons Swung to 2021 Pretax Profit on Better Market Conditions

Foxtons Group PLC said Wednesday it swung to a pretax profit in 2021 on higher revenue from improved market conditions and greater market share, and reinstated a final dividend.


Nichols Swung to a Pretax Profit in 2021; Confident About 2022

Nichols PLC said Wednesday that it swung to a pretax loss in 2021 but said that it has entered 2022 with excellent momentum and financial position.


Abingdon Health Shares Fall on Lower 1H Revenue

Shares in Abingdon Health PLC fell Wednesday after the company said that first-half revenue significantly fell below management expectations, primarily on a lack of revenue from the U.K.'s Department of Health and Social Care, or DHSC.


McKay Securities Agrees on GBP272 Mln Workspace Takeover; Shares Leap

Shares of McKay Securities PLC rose 27% in early trade Wednesday after the company said that it has agreed to a 272 million pound ($362.4 million) takeover by FTSE 250 office-rental company Workspace Group PLC.

Market Talk: 

Weir Shares Jump After Upbeat FY Results, Outlook

1300 GMT - Weir Group shares surge 9% to 1,663 pence after the Scottish multinational engineering company reported a higher pretax profit for 2021 and said it expects 2022 revenue and profit to rise after strong order momentum continued in the fourth quarter. The company's post-results comments further confirmed its strong outlook after FY21 numbers modestly topped expectations, RBC Capital Markets says. "We re-iterate our outperform rating, reflecting both a very positive outlook in the mining capex markets and our view that the underlying performance of Weir Minerals highlights not just a top-tier mining equipment play, but also comparable traits to much higher-rated 'quality' names in our wider coverage," RBC says, also reconfirming its 2,470 pence price target.


Sanctions Raise Risk of Russian Companies Defaulting

1242 GMT - Capital Economics expects a higher risk of Russian companies defaulting on their debt. "Administrative measures by the Russian government could prevent companies from repaying debts," the U.K. economic-research firm says. Russian companies' access to foreign-exchange markets has already been crimped by mandatory conversion orders, it says. In addition, Western governments might decide to halt energy imports from Russia in a further escalation of sanctions, which would hit corporates' foreign-currency incomes hard, raising default risks.


Ukraine War Raises Doubts Over Polymetal Market Listing

1212 GMT - Polymetal International could drop its London listing and go private as Russian companies face a backlash from investors over the country's Ukraine invasion, AJ Bell says. Having peaked at 2,028 pence around mid-2020, Polymetal's shares trade down 0.6% at 257 pence Wednesday, though they rose earlier after the miner's full-year results. "Investors are more concerned about how sanctions on Russia might impact the business and what that would mean for dividends and indeed the future of Polymetal's London stock-market listing," AJ Bell says. "There has been a rapid shift in thinking from institutional investors in the West towards exposure to Russia and we're likely to see a lot of them cut ties with the country."


Persimmon's Results Are Comforting But Uncertainty Persists

1156 GMT - Persimmon's 2021 results were solid, with comfort provided to investors from commentary on its margins, and a good start to 2022, Goodbody says. The house builder's strong current performance is reassuring, but while there is still uncertainty around the issue of developers paying to replace unsafe fire cladding it will be difficult for the whole sector gain momentum, despite appealing valuations, the Irish brokerage says."We currently forecast 2022 volume growth at the upper end of guidance--around 7%--and only forecast a slight margin improvement of around 20bps, thus do not envisage changing numbers based on this morning's statement," Goodbody says, retaining its buy rating on the stock. Shares are up 5.5% at 2,449.0 pence.


Polymetal Concerns Focus on Gold Sales, Currency Controls, Liquidity

1136 GMT - Polymetal says its ability to run its mining operations normally is unaffected by the implications of the war in Ukraine, but gold bullion sales, currency controls and liquidity are three key areas of uncertainty amid the current geopolitical events, Citi says. The mining group, which operates in Russia and Kazakhstan, has reiterated full-year production guidance for 2022, but suspended costs and capital expenditure guidance and expects to update the market at a later date. "Dividend payments are expected in May 2022, by that time, there should be better clarity on potential remittances, in our view," Citi says.


Aviva's Dividend Policy Could Placate Cevian Capital s

1127 GMT - Aviva's plan to increase its 2022 dividend payout to GBP4.75 billion from GBP4 billion was the big news from its annual results and could be enough to calm down activist investor Cevian Capital, which had been pushing to distribute GBP5 billion to shareholders, eToro says. The social investment network adds that the new dividend commitment overshadowed negative news, such as the 10% profit fall year-on-year despite the insurer trimming costs. "They (investors) will take comfort from the fact the business is churning out strong sales and premium growth," eToro says.


Polymetal International Shares Rebound After Positive Going Concern Statement

1100 GMT - Polymetal International has said that it believes that it can keep going for at least the next 12 months in even the most severe scenario in which the business is directly and indirectly impacted by sanctions against Russia, which might explain why the share price has rebounded, AJ Bell says. However, the mining company didn't discuss whether it might decide to delist its shares from London, the investment platform notes. "The biggest shareholder is Alexander Nesis with a 23.9% stake, followed by BlackRock at 10.09%. One could speculate that Nesis might want to take the business private, but there might be a problem in transporting funds to enact the transaction, given tightening restrictions on payments in Russia," AJ Bell says. Shares rise 5.9%.


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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 02, 2022 12:44 ET (17:44 GMT)

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