MARKET REPORT: Ashtead retires in race to be 2021 FTSE best stock


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Construction equipment rental company Ashtead strengthened its top-performing FTSE 100 stock position this year after a construction boom in the United States.

It jumped 3.9%, or 224p, to 6442p after improving its annual forecast after a “record first half performance” in the six months ending in late October.

Pre-tax profits rose 38% year-on-year to £ 673million, while income jumped 18% to £ 2.9 billion. He also increased his interim dividend by 28% to 9p per share.

Construction equipment rental firm Ashtead jumped 3.9% after revising full-year forecast after “record first half performance” in six months to end of October

The numbers were magnified by reconstruction in the United States after the 2021 hurricane season, which caused more than £ 53 billion in damage. Its equipment has also been requested in the UK, helping to build after Covid.

Ashtead wasn’t alone in making a profit, with US-focused plumbing and heating supplier Ferguson improving its forecast for the year after sales jumped nearly 27% to £ 5.1 billion in the three months to October 31. Profits rose 64 percent. one hundred to £ 559million. Shares rose 5.9%, or 685p, to a record 12,225p.

Stock Watch – Shanta Gold

Shanta Gold shares slumped to a 21-month low after the company hit hard at its New Luika gold mine in Tanzania.

He said a third had supplied the group with “unreliable” equipment and products in its fourth quarter, and although the issues have been resolved, production for 2021 is expected to be between 55,000 and 57,000 ounces. gold compared to its previous forecast of 60,000 to 65,000 ounces.

The news knocked stocks down 21.7%, or 2.5 pence, to 9 pence.

AJ Bell chief investment officer Russ Mold noted that Ferguson signed a £ 907 billion infrastructure spending program for President Joe Biden last month, which will provide a “positive backdrop” for Ashtead in its main US market.

On this side of the Atlantic, builders have exploded as UK house prices hit new highs in November. Taylor Wimpey gained 2.3%, or 3.8p, to 167.8p while Persimmon rose 1.7%, or 4.8p, ​​to 2819p, Berkeley rose 2.2%, or 98p, to 4635p and Barratt climbed 1.8%, or 12.6p, to 732p.

Mid-cap builders were also on the rise, with Bellway adding 1.6%, or 52p, to 3250p, Crest Nicholson gaining 2.1%, or 7.2p, to 351.6p, Redrow increasing 1.5%, or 10p, to 686.6p and Vistry surging 2%, or 22.5p, to 1156p.

The FTSE 100 rose 1.5%, or 107.62 points, to 7339.9 while the FTSE 250 jumped 1.6%, or 356.84 points, to 23,238.17.

The blue chip index has managed to rebound to levels seen before Omicron’s inspired sell-off amid suggestions that the Covid variant may only cause mild symptoms, reducing the risk of another lockdown.

Better-than-expected economic data from China has boosted miners who export raw materials to the country.

Anglo American rose 6.5%, or 182.5p, to 2995p while Antofagasta jumped 4.3%, or 59p, to 1418.5p and Rio Tinto rose 4.8%, or 220, 5p, to 4813p.

Meanwhile, pharmaceutical giant Astrazeneca fell 1.7%, or 140p, to 8223p after analysts at Jefferies lowered the stock to “hold” to “buy” and predicted lower growth in prices. profits after 2026.

This overshadowed Astra’s deal with California-based Ionis to develop a drug to treat a disease that causes fatal heart failure.

Barclays was also down, down 0.2%, or 0.34p, to 186.72p after Deutsche Bank downgraded it to “hold” from “buy”, while putting HSBC to “hold” from ‘sell’ and Natwest to ‘buy’ ‘from’ hold ‘. The former rose 1.4%, or 6.2p, to 443.5p while the latter was up 2.5%, or 5.5p to 221.1p.

Paragon Banking Group, one of the UK’s largest mortgage and loan providers, rose 0.6%, or 3p, to 542p after record profits.

As of September 30, profit rose 81% year-on-year to £ 213.7million, with mortgages rising 29 percent to £ 1.6 billion and commercial loans rising 23 percent to £ 1 billion.

Meanwhile, car dealership Inchcape rose 1.6%, or 14p, to 868p after expanding to the Caribbean, buying two companies, which are expected to add around £ 120million to its annual revenue.

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