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FTSE 100: Smoking shares down, booze shares up as market treads water

·2-min read
Diageo has enjoyed a jump in sales as drinkers have bought more spirits during the pandemic (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Archive)
Diageo has enjoyed a jump in sales as drinkers have bought more spirits during the pandemic (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Archive)

INVESTORS are still waiting for Imperial Brands to catch fire, and there is a sense that patience is wearing thin.

The tobacco giant behind Rizla, Winston, Drum and other top brands is edging towards “next generation” smoking vapes. Too slowly, say some.

Profit for the year was up 15% to £3.15 billion, but that seems largely due to the sale of the cigar division. The divi is edged up by 1% to 139p, but the market wasn’t overly impressed.

Dan Lane at Freetrade said: “Get ready to hear all about the ‘strengthening’ and ‘acceleration’ phases from Imperial over the next few years. Behind the buzzwords, that means cost-cutting followed by finally making room for heated tobacco products. But, for all the gung-ho attitudes to the future this morning, Imperial is still pumping cash into the ways of the past.”

The shares fell 25p to 1573p. The wider market was also torpid.

The FTSE 100 lost 10 points to 7341, with Darktrace the biggest loser, down 17p to 551p.

Better than expected jobs figures boosted the pound which in turn put a drag on large stocks that make money in dollars.

The pound was up 0.39 cents to $1.3456.

Severn Trent fell 52p to 2770p amid wider concerns about the water industry dumping sewage into rivers – fines or other punishments seem likely.

Talk of further Covid restrictions hit leisure shares today, Cineworld giving up 4p to 63p. The shares have recovered markedly this year however. The retailers Curry’s, down 2p at 136p, and Pets at Home, off 7p at 460p, shared the gloom.

Offering some fizz was Diageo, up 83p to 3901p – a record high. The alcohol giant is targeting a 50% increase in its market share by 2030

AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said: ““It helps that Diageo already has a global reach and a wide range of strong brands across areas like vodka, whisky, gin and tequila. It came under criticism for paying top dollar for relatively young brands like Casamigos and Aviation Gin, but their sales are growing incredibly fast, and the products are ‘on trend’ for drinkers.”

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