Ex-dividends, challenger banks and Coca Cola HBC

“The FTSE 100 was down almost 0.4% in afternoon trading, dragged southwards by a series of big beasts going ‘ex-dividend’,” says AJ Bell Investment Director Russ Mould.

Astrazeneca (down 3.6%), BP (down 1.6%), Shell (down 1.6%) and Imperial Brands (down 2%) were among the high-profile casualties.

“Pushing back against the ex-dividend tide are a plucky band of challenger banks, with One Savings Bank and Shawbrook both up by just shy of 2.8% following a glowing note on the sector by influential market analyst Panmure Gordon. Panmure points to high growth and profitability prospects, the contraction in lending from major banks, and its view Brexit and concerns over the future of buy-to-let being ‘overdone’ as key factors behind its ‘Buy’ recommendations for a series of smaller lenders.

Coca Cola HBC – the FTSE-100 listed soft drinks bottler – also saw its share price fizz, rising 3.2% after revealing pre-tax profits of €266.9m, up from €192.4m a year earlier. Chief executive Dimitris Lois said a cost cutting drive coupled with ‘efficiency actions’ had boosted the bottom line, while brighter economic conditions are expected to improve the firm’s growth prospects in 2017.”

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