“Blue-chips opened on the front foot after positive overnight performances on Wall Street and in Asia as investors liked US President Donald Trump saying that he would soon announce tax-reform measures. The market is looking to UK industrial and manufacturing production figures, along with the country's goods trade balance and its construction output while German inflation and Italian GDP will also be on the radar,” says AJ Bell Investment Director Russ Mould.
“Greene King had record Christmas Day with sales up 6% at £7.4m. Trading during the three-week Christmas period was also strong with like-for-like sale up 4.5% against tough comparatives. The group has sold 59 pubs in the first 40 weeks of its financial year and plans to sell a further 50-60 to raise gross proceeds of around £30-40m. Greene King is facing significant cost pressures but remains confident it will deliver another year of progress. Greene King’s shares were down by more than 2.2% in early trading.
“Speciality chemicals group Elementis led the FTSE250 board in early trading after a deal which significantly increases the scale of its personal care business. Elementis is taking over SummitReheis for $360m. SummitReheis is the global leader in the manufacture and sale of active ingredients for anti-perspirants and has long standing relationships with key consumer product companies across the Americas, Europe and Asia. The deal creates an enlarged personal care business with annual sales of approximately $200m. Elementis also cheered investors by confirming that the board is mulling special dividends for the year ended 31 December. Elementis’s shares were up by over 8.2%.
“Consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser is to acquire baby milk group Mead Johnson Nutrition in a deal valued at $17.9bn. The acquisition is a significant step forward in Reckitt Benckiser's journey as a leader in consumer health and with the Enfa family of brands, the world's leading franchise in infant and children's nutrition, it will provide families with vital nutritional support.”
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