Rentokil buoyed by director reshuffle
A GAME of pass-the-director between Rentokil and Morrisons delivered positive results for the former’s shares on a day when a slew of FTSE 100 boardroom changes were unveiled.
Jeremy Townsend, Rentokil’s chief financial officer, announced his intention to step down from the pest control specialist after 10 years in that role. He has been appointed to the board of supermarket Morrisons, where he will serve as a non-executive director. His role at Rentokil will be taken up by Stuart Ingall-Tombs, who was previously the FTSE 100 company’s European CFO.
At Morrisons, Mr Townsend will take up the space vacated by Belinda Richards, who is taking up a role as independent non-executive director of Jupiter Fund Management.
Rentokil shares rose 7.6p to 522.8p. Morrisons fell 1p to 184.4p, while peers Sainsbury’s and Tesco lost ground too.
Meanwhile, shares in blue-chip insurer Aviva jumped after it announced the sudden exit of Maurice Tulloch, its chief executive, who was replaced by former non-executive Amanda Blanc. Its shares climbed 9.9p to 283.4p. In comparison, Lloyds Banking Group was left fairly unmoved, firming 0.2p at 31.2p, after announcing boss Antonio HortaOsorio would step down next year.
Housebuilders climbed amid speculation over a potential cut to stamp duty and an encouraging outlook from industry leader Barratt Developments. Barratt was the biggest riser on the FTSE 100, climbing 39.1p to 529.4p. The group said all its operational sites had reopened by the end of June, and that its forward order book was still strong.
Jefferies’ Glynis Jackson said a trading update from the group gave a “more upbeat view” than expected.
Peers were buoyed by the update, as well as reports that a stamp duty holiday is looming, and purchasing managers’ index data that suggests the construction sector is undergoing a residential-led rebound.
Persimmon rose 139p to £23.98, Taylor Wimpey gained 7p to 144p, and Berkeley put on 161p to £43.24.
Ms Jackson said housebuilders would feel “a mild benefit eventually” if the Chancellor pushed forward with a stamp duty pause. The rise came on a positive day for London stocks, which chalked up solid gains as investors bet on a new wave of relief from governments and central banks to help tackle the ongoing economic effects of Covid-19. There was a similar story across the continent.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 touched its highest level in the month, with Germany’s Dax and France’s Cac both rising solidly. European tech shares became the first sector to recoup losses from the widespread market drop that started in February.
There were plenty of reasons for individual moves on a day packed with corporate news.
Emerging markets-focused lender Standard Chartered advanced 22.3p to 457.3p after the US Department of Justice convinced a New York federal court to dismiss a suit accusing the bank of engaging in practices that contravened sanctions against Iran.
Shares in Boohoo dropped by nearly a quarter following a Sunday Times report that alleged poor treatment of workers at one of the online fashion giant’s Leicester-based suppliers. The group – a long-time darling of the Aim market – fell 90.8p to 296.7p.