LONDON -- The FTSE 100 breached the 6,600 barrier today for the first time since October 2007, setting a new five-and-a-half year high of 6,635 points along the way -- it's currently on 6,625, up 33 points on the day. Stimulus measures by central banks, coupled with strong earnings reports, have helped the FTSE to five days of rises, with a sixth day today if it remains at current levels.
Which companies are boosting the FTSE indexes? Here are three on the rise today:
Full-year results from BT Group sent the share price spiking up 26.5 pence (9.5%) to 302 pence this morning. Announcing an 11% rise in adjusted pre-tax profit to 2.69 billion pounds for the year to March 31, the telecoms giant lifted its annual dividend 14% to 9.5 pence per share -- that's a yield of 3.1% on the current price.
Revenues did fall, by 5% to 18.3 billion pounds, but operating costs have been reduced and net debt was cut by 1.3 billion pounds to 7.8 billion pounds. BT's fiber customer base more than doubled over the period, with more than 1.5 million customers now on the books -- and fiber is now available to more than half of U.K. homes and businesses.
Ocado shares leapt 25 pence (12%) on the day of the company's AGM, as the firm released a statement telling us that "Ocado has continued to make significant progress as the Chairmanship passes from Lord Grade to Sir Stuart Rose." The online grocer started operations at its second warehouse, which is widely seen as critical to the firm's future profitability, in February.
Ocado is also in talks with Wm. Morrison Supermarkets with a view to assisting the latter in finally getting its online shopping going. If Ocado does take on the Morrisons job, it will not affect the firm's current partnership with Waitrose, we were told.
Shares in TUI Travel gained 5 pence (1.5%) to 346 pence after the travel agent announced a 14% improvement in its first-half operating loss, by 43 million pounds to 274 million pounds -- it's the quiet season, so a loss is expected. That does exclude the effect of empty legs, but apparently that has no impact on the full year.
With cash flow improved and net debt down, TUI has lifted its interim dividend by 10% to 3.75 pence per share. If the final dividend is similarly raised, we'd be seeing a yield of around 3.7% on today's price.
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