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FTSE 100 Edges Higher – Ashtead (AHT) and Whitbread (WTB) Big Movers

Analyst Team trader
Updated 18 Jun 2024

The FTSE 100 has kicked off today on a bright note, adding 23 points to reach 8165, as the index tries to find some support after a relatively disappointing month. The FTSE 100 index remains down 3% over the past 30 days, but there are some notable movers to both sides today.


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Looking into the movers of the day, and Whitbread shares (LON: WTB) are trading up almost 4%, as the owner of Premier Inn offered a confident outlook. The group reported modest sales growth of 1% for the first quarter, suggesting resilience in its performance in the UK and progress in its operations in Germany. This update provided a degree of encouragement to investors looking at the hospitality sector for signs of post-pandemic recovery.

On the downside, industrial equipment rental company Ashtead Group PLC became one of the biggest fallers in the Footsie after reporting lower than expected revenue growth and a fall in profits for the past year. Shares dipped nearly 5% following the announcement before reclaiming some of that lost ground to trade 3,8% down on the day so far.

The company disclosed a full-year profit decrease of 2% and a substantial net debt figure over $10 billion, although it also communicated a 5% dividend hike, signalling some confidence in its future cash flow and trying to soften the blow.

In energy trading, Shell shares (LON: SHEL) remain unmoved after the company made headlines as it agreed to acquire Pavilion Energy, a Singapore-based liquefied natural gas trading company, from Temasek. The details regarding the sum remain undisclosed, but the move is in line with Shell's strategy to strengthen its global LNG trading operations.

Amid the retail sector, Kantar's latest UK grocery data indicated that price inflation slowed to 2.1% in the four weeks leading up to June 9, marking the weakest take-home grocery sales growth in two years. This softening of price pressures might spell some relief for consumers who have been grappling with the cost-of-living crisis.

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The AskTraders Analyst Team features experts in technical and fundamental analysis, as well as traders specializing in stocks, forex, and cryptocurrency.