FTSE 100 starts week on positive note

Stocks opened the week on a positive note, shrugging off relatively subdued inflation data from China. However, market sentiment for the remainder of the week is likely to hinge on the upcoming US consumer price index reading, scheduled for Wednesday.

The FTSE 100 index closed up by 16.85 points, a 0.2% increase, reaching 7,273.79. The FTSE 250 also ended in the green, up by 23.99 points or 0.1% to 18,027.96, while the AIM All-Share experienced a slight dip, closing down 0.4% or 2.99 points at 738.72

Telecommunications giant BT saw a minor decline of 0.1% following the announcement of Chief Executive Philip Jansen’s resignation. Jansen intends to step down from his role over the next 12 months, once the timing is appropriate.

Water utility companies enjoyed gains after news of a cash injection in Thames Water. Severn Trent and United Utilities saw their stocks rise by 1.7% and 1.0% respectively.

Thames Water Utilities revealed that its shareholders have agreed to provide an additional £750 million in funding. However, the company also cautioned that it will require a further £2.5 billion by 2030 due to the burden of its £14 billion debt. Thames Water described the initial funding agreement until March 2025 as a significant milestone, albeit falling short of the anticipated £1 billion. The company acknowledged that substantial additional support will be necessary in the coming years for its turnaround plan to be successful.

In London’s small-cap market, DWF saw its share price surge by 40% to 92 pence. The Manchester-based legal business confirmed reports of potential takeover discussions with Inflexion Private Equity Partners. The proposed offer would be valued at 100 pence per share, comprising 97p in cash and a 3p special dividend for the six-month period ending April 30. In response to this development, Liberum upgraded its rating for DWF from ‘sell’ to ‘hold’ and doubled its target price from 50p to 100p.

On AIM, Totally shares (LSE: TLY) plunged by 25% after the company provided guidance indicating lower revenue and earnings for the upcoming year. The frontline healthcare services company reported a pretax loss of £1.8 million for the year ended March 31, compared to £1.3 million in the previous year. Revenue, however, saw a 6.5% increase to £135.7 million from £127.4 million. Looking ahead, Totally expects the year ahead to be challenging, with decreasing revenue due to increasingly difficult operating conditions.