MARKET REPORT: Rentokil shares hit a 20-year high thanks to a boost from higher-margin pest control

MARKET REPORT: Rentokil shares hit a 20-year high thanks to a boost from higher-margin pest control


Rentokil’s share price entered territory last seen two decades ago after a bumper set of interims sent the FTSE 100 rat catcher rattling 5.5 per cent higher.

Profits grew by a better-than-expected 12 per cent, buoyed by the firm’s move into higher-margin pest control, which now accounts for two-thirds of the business.

Acquisitions have provided some of the momentum, with the group saying it expects to spend around £250 million on deals this year.

Rentokil's share price entered territory last seen two decades ago after a bumper set of interims sent the FTSE 100 rat catcher rattling 5.5 per cent higher

Rentokil’s share price entered territory last seen two decades ago after a bumper set of interims sent the FTSE 100 rat catcher rattling 5.5 per cent higher

Having advanced almost a third in the year to date, the shares are currently trading on around 27-times next year’s earnings.

It means Rentokil is changing hands at a premium to other ‘quality’ firms in the sector, according to broker Peel Hunt, which says the shares are worth 381p each. The stock closed at 435p, up 22.8p.

Sticking with support services, Serco also enjoyed a decent day, with its shares ending a busy session up 5.4 per cent, or 7.6p, at 147.4p.

The outsourcing specialist reported a 29 per cent jump in first-half underlying trading profit driven by its American arm and was confident of growing faster than the market for the next two years.

On Monday the LSE (up 1.9 per cent, or 122p, at 6626p) confirmed it was in £22 billion talks to acquire Refinitiv, the data and terminals business formerly owned by Reuters

On Monday the LSE (up 1.9 per cent, or 122p, at 6626p) confirmed it was in £22 billion talks to acquire Refinitiv, the data and terminals business formerly owned by Reuters

The FTSE 100 ended the session down 0.8 per cent, or 59.99 points at 7586.78. The negativity was understandable given President Trump’s latest trade-inspired, China-focused tweet.

There were also a few nerves ahead the US Federal Reserve’s monthly interest rate decision, which happened after hours.

A big blue-chip loser was St James’s Place. The wealth manager’s first-half results were below most City forecasts – albeit only modestly. 

STOCK WATCH: Shield Therapeutics

Shield Therapeutics has enjoyed a stellar 12 months, culminating on Friday with its iron drug, Feraccru, being approved in the US.

It led to a near doubling of the share price on the day.

Shield has been a particularly profitable investment for the former City trader-turned-investor, Richard Griffiths.

Griffiths, who has 7 per cent of the firm, got in at an average 25p when the shares were in the doldrums. That is a paper profit of £12.5 million based on the current price of 179.5p.

Some followers hailed the performance as a solid one under the circumstances, particularly given the backdrop of Brexit. The shares dropped 5.7 per cent, or 59p, to 984p.

Normally the London Stock Exchange’s half-term numbers would pass without mention. But these aren’t normal times. On Monday the LSE (up 1.9 per cent, or 122p, at 6626p) confirmed it was in £22 billion talks to acquire Refinitiv, the data and terminals business formerly owned by Reuters.

It’s unlikely that boss David Schwimmer and his team will have the deal trussed up and ready to go today. However it is likely to be a major talking point.

The LSE’s revenues are set to rise 5 per cent year-on-year to £1.1 billion in the first six months, with underlying profits expected to advance 8 per cent to £589 million, according to Swiss broker UBS.

In the mining sector, Glencore said it would unveil a turnaround plan for its struggling copper unit next week. However, the shares fell 2.4 per cent, or 6.6p, to 266.45p after the firm said its trading arm had been hit by a fall in cobalt prices.

Among the druggies, Indivior’s shares advanced 0.8 per cent, or 0.44p, to 54.8p as it surprised with a 14 per cent rise in quarterly profits.

Of more interest was Suboxone, its top-selling drug that treats opioid addiction, which is now subject to copycat competition. The anticipated loss of market share happened at a slower pace than previously modelled.

Replacement hip maker Smith & Nephew’s second-quarter figures raised barely a murmur, even after it hiked guidance for a second time this year. 

It is one of a cluster across the industry to do so. AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline set the standard last week. S&N shares fell 0.2 per cent, or 3.5p to 1859p. 

Also revising its forecasts upwards was Computacenter, whose performance was materially ahead of forecasts. The shares – up 12.1 per cent, or 165p to 1525p – topped the FTSE 350. 

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