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FTSE 100 Closes Up as Russia's Foreign Ministry Signals Willingness for Talks

The FTSE 100 closed up 3.3% on Wednesday as markets in Europe saw a sizeable rebound following comments from Russia's foreign ministry saying that it would be better if their goals in Ukraine were achieved through talks, CMC Markets UK says. BP and Shell are lower on the back of a decline in oil prices, but Russian miners Evraz and Polymetal rebounded strongly after both said that they didn't consider themselves at risk of being affected by Russian sanctions. Legal & General rose as full-year numbers saw profits after tax come in at a record GBP2 billion.

 
Companies News: 

Mothercare Suspends Business in Russia Amid Invasion of Ukraine

Mothercare PLC said Wednesday that it has suspended all of its businesses in Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

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Tullow Oil 2021 Net Loss Narrowed on Lower Costs, Backs Guidance

Tullow Oil PLC said Wednesday that its 2021 net loss narrowed after it booked lower costs, and backed its guidance for the year.

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Biffa Expects to Close FY 2022 With Significant Net Revenue Growth

Biffa PLC said Wednesday that it has been performing in line with management expectations in the second half of fiscal 2022, and that net revenue for the first 11 months of the financial year rose significantly.

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Stagecoach Group Agrees to New GBP594.9M Takeover by Pan-European Infrastructure

Stagecoach Group PLC said Wednesday that it has agreed to a new 594.9 million pound ($779.4 million) takeover by Pan-European Infrastructure III, and therefore withdrawn its previous recommendation of the offer by peer National Express Group PLC.

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Polymetal's Russia, Kazakhstan Operations Continue Despite Sanctions

Polymetal International PLC said Wednesday that all of its operations in Russia and Kazakhstan are continuing without disruption despite sanctions imposed on Russia and certain Russian businesses after the country's invasion of Ukraine.

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Evraz Says Operations Haven't Been Hit by Sanctions Amid Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Evraz PLC said Wednesday that it hasn't been affected by the international sanctions imposed against Russia amid the invasion of Ukraine and that it continues to support the demerger of its assets, consolidated under PJSC Raspadskaya.

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Legal & General 2021 Operating Profit Rose on Alternative Assets; Raises Dividend

Legal & General Group PLC said Wednesday that operating profit for 2021 rose in line with the board's views, boosted by its alternative asset portfolio.

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STV Group Says 2021 Pretax Profit Rose on Higher Revenue; Had Strong Start to 2022

STV Group PLC said Wednesday that 2021 pretax profit and revenue rose, and that it had a strong start to 2022.

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Kier 1H Pretax Profit Rose Despite Revenue Slip

Kier Group PLC said Wednesday that its pretax profit for the first half of fiscal 2022 rose despite a fall in revenue.

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Ibstock Swung to 2021 Pretax Profit as Revenue Rose; Says 2022 Started Strongly

Ibstock PLC said Wednesday that it swung to pretax profit for 2021 as revenue increased, and that its performance in 2022 has started well.

 
Market Talk: 

Headlam's Capital Return Still Leaves Cash to Play With

1216 GMT - Headlam's 2021 results met expectations and it is making good progress on its strategic initiatives, but the main event was the return of GBP30 million of capital to shareholders, Peel Hunt says. The floor-coverings distributor plans to launch a GBP15 million share buyback program along with a 17.7 pence a share special dividend on top of the normal dividend, the brokerage says. "This will still leave the business in a net cash position, leaving the company well placed to invest in the business, undertake infill acquisitions or make further returns," Peel Hunt says. The brokerage retains its buy rating and 670 pence price target on the stock. Shares are up 7.3% at 370.0 pence. (

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AFC Energy's Development in 2021 Bodes Well for Future

1208 GMT - AFC Energy's fiscal 2021 results largely met financial expectations, with its technological and operational development particularly strong, Peel Hunt says. The hydrogen technology company had a very positive year in terms of rapid development of its new high energy density fuel cell technology, demonstration of its ability to use liquid ammonia and methanol fuels, and addition of several new commercial partnerships, the brokerage says. AFC should see a number of system deployments with several of these partners in 2022, which should lead to product validation and a scale up of commercial sales in due course, Peel Hunt says. The brokerage retains its buy rating and 195 pence price target on the stock.

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Breedon's Winning Strategy Should Help Again in 2022

1207 GMT - Breedon Group delivered an impressive result in 2021, achieving record volumes, revenues and earnings despite the backdrop of steep cost inflation, Davy Research says. The construction-materials company's key to success was strong pricing and a successful hedging strategy, which fully mitigated cost increases--a strategy that should protect the group again in 2022, the Irish research firm says. Breedon's cash performance was likewise impressive, further supporting capital expenditure and dividend increases, while leaving room for acquisitions, Davy says. "Much like its sector peers, the stock has suffered in recent weeks, but management is executing well in a difficult cost environment," the firm says, retaining its outperform rating. Shares are up 1.5% at 80.7 pence.

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Breedon's Future Looks Sturdy Despite Volatility

1156 GMT - Breedon's outlook is relatively upbeat given the uncertainties in the greater macro backdrop, with management pointing to market expectations for mid-single digit growth in 2022, Goodbody says. The construction-materials company did note that volatility is likely to persist in commodity costs, but said increasingly dynamic pricing across its market will make it easier for it to fully recoup any input cost increases. "At this early stage of the year forecasts for underlying EBIT of GBP142 million look well underpinned," Goodbody says, adding its share price looks relatively low. Goodbody retains its buy rating on Breedon's stock. Shares are up 2.1% at 81.2 pence.

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Equity, Commodity Markets Show Limited Impact From US Ban on Russian Oil Imports

1155 GMT - News of the U.S. banning Russian oil imports has had a limited impact on equity and commodity markets as they had already adjusted to reports of sanctions on Russian energy earlier this week, Davy Research says. U.S. and U.K. sanctions aren't expected to have a substantial impact due to the countries' limited exposure to Russian imports; while the EU's plan to cut dependence on Russian gas will be more challenging, Davy says. It expects the ECB to take a cautious tone at its policy meeting Thursday and delay tapering of asset purchases, and perhaps indicate that it is ready to act "if necessary to support the economy."

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Breedon Looks Enticing to Infrastructure Investors

1137 GMT - Breedon's 2021 results should be taken well by the market, with revenue and underlying earnings both slightly ahead of market consensus and Shore Capital's forecasts, the investment group says. The construction-materials company is a great opportunity for those looking to take advantage of infrastructure demand in the U.K. and Ireland, which is in the middle of a long cyclical upturn, Shore says. "It also has the potential to grow by acquisition in the U.K., Ireland and now North America and under the auspices of a disciplined, well-regarded management team," the investment group says. Shore retains its buy recommendation. Shares are up 1.9% at 81.0 pence.

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Gaming Realms' New License, Current Performance Bode Well for Outlook

1122 GMT - Gaming Realms' new license to operate in the Canadian province of Ontario, as well as its positive start to fiscal 2022, are underpinning Peel Hunt's confidence in its forecasts for the company, the U.K. brokerage says. The London-listed gambling company is well placed to have its games live with operators as soon as the market opens in Ontario on April 4, Peel Hunt notes. Meanwhile, revenue is running ahead of management expectations, it adds. Shares are up 2.00 pence, or 8.2%, at 26.30 pence.

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888 Holdings 4Q Performance Was in Line, But the Focus Is on M&A

1101 GMT - 888 Holdings' 4Q 2021 performance update showed an improvement in line with expectations, but it is the acquisition of William Hill that will drive growth, Jefferies says. The U.S. bank expects 888 to launch a GBP500 million fund-raising to acquire the William Hill assets. It also expects the deal to take place in the second quarter of 2022. Jefferies says William Hill will drive 888's share price with around 50% EPS accretion and a positive re-rating due to diversification by product and geography. Jefferies has a buy recommendation on the stock and a target price of 480.0. Shares are down 3% at 187.3 pence.

 

Contact: London NewsPlus, Dow Jones Newswires; Write to Sarka Halas at sarka.halas@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 09, 2022 12:36 ET (17:36 GMT)

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