FTSE 100 movers: Whitbread rises as AstraZeneca tumbles
Thu 26 Apr 2012
LONDON (SHARECAST) - Whitbread, the FTSE 100 coffee shops, restaurants and hotels operator, was on a caffeine high after it topped expectations with full-year profits and sales, with the Costa Coffee chain once again driving growth. The good news also prompted Peel Hunt to reiterate its buy recommendation for the stock, further boost investor sentiment.
Oil and gas titan Royal Dutch Shell was another stock in demand after its upstream activities drove a bigger-than-expected increase in the Anglo-Dutch group's first quarter earnings.
Consumer goods giant Unilever also rose after saying it had a good start to the year and was on track to hit its full year targets, with turnover increasing by 11.9% in the first quarter.
Meanwhile, pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca tanked after first quarter revenues fell 11% year-on-year, missing consensus estimates by eight per cent. While core earnings per share came in above forecasts, the group lowered its full-year guidance range by 2.4% at the mid-point. The firm also announced that Chief Executive David Brennan would retire in June. The announcement came out of the blue and speculation in the City is that Brennan is paying the price for the Anglo-Swedish firm's disappointing performance on his watch.
Car insurer Admiral fell after saying that UK policy growth was at the lower-end of targets. Nevertheless, first quarter group turnover rose nine per cent to £586m from £539m in the first quarter of last year.
Speciality chemicals manufacturer Croda International was also out of favour despite saying it has achieved record results in the first quarter of 2012. Rising raw materials prices, necessitating price rises of Croda products, have set investors' nerves a-jangling.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Whitbread (WTB) 1,887.00p +4.31%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,720.00p +3.61%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 5,530.00p +3.46%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 2,250.50p +2.81%
Unilever (ULVR) 2,136.00p +2.74%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 2,181.50p +2.51%
Shire Plc (SHP) 2,033.00p +1.55%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 1,533.00p +1.46%
Tate & Lyle (TATE) 684.00p +1.18%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 23.45p +0.99%