Reckitt Benckiser, Vodafone & Just Retirement Partnership

“In a world of President Trump and Brexit uncertainty, the Bank of England’s decision to hold interest rates and maintain the existing fiscal stimulus package came as little surprise,” says AJ Bell Investment Director Russ Mould. “No shock for stock markets either then, with the FTSE 100 notching a marginal 0.31% rise in afternoon trading.

“More blockbuster corporate deals are in the air, with consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser – the firm behind brands including Durex and Dettol – revealing it is in advanced negotiations to buy US baby formula maker Mead Johnson Nutrition for $16.7bn. While the deal has not yet been signed, investors are clearly excited at the prospect as the firm’s share price rocketed 2.85% on the back of the announcement.

“Less good news for Vodafone, another global giant, which saw its share price stumble 0.72% as it revealed earnings will be at the lower end of market expectations. Competition in India and the UK has weighed on profits and with the mobile phone provider’s Indian business lining up a merger with Aditya Birla Group, investors will be eager to see signs of further activity to boost profits and fight off market rivals.

“In the UK, Just Retirement Partnership or ‘Just’ – the pensions business created following the merger of specialist annuity providers Just Retirement and Partnership last year – enjoyed a 3.4% share price boost despite confirming an 11% slump in 2016 sales. This is mainly because new business margins were higher than expected, boosting underlying profit by around £8m. A forecast of sales growth in 2017, merger cost savings and an improved mortgage environment may also have whetted investors’ appetite.”

These articles are for information purposes only and are not a personal recommendation or advice.