were higher following the completion of the sale of its stake in Verizon Wireless and the attendant share consolidation. The sale has reduced the value of the telecoms giant by nearly 51bn pounds. The firm also announced its intention to redeem approximately 3.5bn pounds of its own notes. For their part, analysts at Deutsche Bank on Monday highlighted the scope which exists for the company to increase its dividend payout.
Bunzl was at the top of the leaderboard today after revealing its 2013 operating profit had jumped 18% to £414m, boosted by acquisitions, although it warned that adverse exchange rate
movements could hit future earnings if they remained at current levels. Pre-tax profits rose to £372.2m, an increase of 18% on the back of increased revenues of £6.1bn against £5.3bn in 2012. The distribution and outsourcing giant also announced it had acquired businesses in Germany and the Czech Republic.
BAE Systems climbed after Investec upgraded the stock to an 'add' rating this morning.
BSkyB was similarly given a lift after Deutsche Bank reiterated its 'buy' rating on the pay television service provider.
Meanwhile, RSA Insurance was in the red after it issued a statement acknowledging recent press speculation regarding a potential rights issue and stated it was "considering" several options. The group said: "RSA is considering measures to strengthen its balance sheet, including raising capital by way of a rights issue, however no final decision has been made by the company at this time. Further details will be given when appropriate." The Sunday Times reported that the fund-raising exercise might aim to bring in about £800m in fresh capital, more than some other observers had been estimating.
Banking giant HSBC was also a big faller after its 2013 profit missed consensus forecasts of $24.6bn after coming in at $22.5bn, although the company did continue to slash costs and jobs in its drive to reduce operating expenses. As a result of the miss, Cannacord Genuity lowered its target price on the lender's shares to 750p from 825p.
Associated British Foods also dropped after the group reported a slump in the Sugar business. Despite the drop, it said it expects first half adjusted operating profit to be in line with 2013 following a strong performance from its Primark stores. The company's revenue and profit from Sugar will be substantially lower than last year, as prices declined. The world sugar price has also fallen to an "unsustainably low level", putting further pressure on industry revenues and margins. However, analysts at both Panmure Gordon and Credit Suisse on Monday hiked their price targets for the company's shares.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Bunzl (BNZL) 1,573.00p +6.07%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 250.3p +5.84%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,348.00p +2.59%
William Hill (WMH) 365.00p +2.13%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 322.80p +1.73%
BAE Systems (BA.) 416.60p +1.29%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 934.00p +1.25%
Prudential (PRU) 1,360.00p +1.19%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,830.00p +1.16%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 980.50p +1.08%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 96.35p -4.79%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 631.30p -3.50%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,914.00p -2.64%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,350.00p -2.10%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,530.50p -1.92%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 939.00p -1.68%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,541.00p -1.67%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,525.00p -1.61%
Pearson (PSON) 1,098.00p -1.35%