LONDON -- Another positive start for the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) has sent it smashing through previous records to reach a 13-year high of 6,771 points, though it has fallen back to 7,767 as of 7:40 a.m. EDT for a 0.17% gain. The top-tier index has now closed above the 6,600 level for seven consecutive trading days and is starting to look settled above 6,700.
Much of today's strength comes from a number of good results and positive announcements. We take a look of three of those contributors.
Marks & Spencer
It was full-year results time for Marks & Spencer, and the outcome was enough to send the share price up 6%, even though reported pre-tax profit fell 14% to £564 million, with basic earnings per share dropping 10% to 29.2 pence -- although the drop in underlying EPS was lower, at 6.3%.
On the upside, overall group sales did rise by 1.3% to £10 billion, with U.K. sales up 0.9%. But a look at U.K. like-for-like sales showed that it all came down to food, sales of which were up 1.7%; the rest, which is largely clothing, dropped 4.1%. Chairman Robert Swannell said, "Mixed trading performance was balanced by good progress in building longer term foundations in line with our key strategic goals." As widely expected, the dividend was held at 17 pence per share.
Full-year results from Burberry have sent the fashion firm's shares up 2.4%, with revenue growing 8% to £2 billion. Reported pre-tax profit gained 4% to £351 million, but after excluding the one-off costs of a license termination, adjusted pre-tax profit was said to be up 14% to £428 million.
The full-year dividend was hiked 16% to 29 pence per share, and an 8% rise in operating cash flow to £523 million apparently enabled a "near doubling of investment spend" to £320 million.
Diversified support-services firm Capita has seen its shares pick up 6.6% on the announcement of a new 10-year partnership with O2 to handle the phone firm's customer management services. The deal is not finalized, but it is expected to be worth about £1.2 billion and is due to commence on July 1.
Including this new agreement, Capita as won more than £2 billion in new and extended contracts so far this year and now says growth for the full year should beat previous expectations, with organic growth coming in at a minimum of 8%.
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