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Trending tickers: Bunzl | Argo Blockchain | Persimmon | Dalata

The latest investor updates on stocks that are trending on Tuesday

Person holding smartphone with website of British distribution company Bunzl plc on screen in front of logo. Focus on center of phone display.
Bunzl underlying operating profits rose 6.5% to £438.3m during the period, and it also upgraded its profit margin outlook. Photo: Getty (Timon Schneider)

Bunzl (BNZL.L)

Bunzl shares climbed as much as 4% on Tuesday after upgrading its profit forecast thanks to easing cost pressures.

The packaging company and business supplies distributor posted a 4% rise in underlying pre-tax profits to £395.6m ($497.6m) for the six months to 30 June, while earnings came in 0.8% lower once currency movements were stripped out.

Underlying operating profits rose 6.5% to £438.3m during the period, and it also upgraded its profit margin outlook.

The group, which had snapped up two more companies in Poland and the Netherlands, now expects annual underlying earnings to be “moderately higher” than in 2022 at constant exchange rates.

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Bunzl said cost inflation had fallen back, “driven by a meaningful reduction in freight costs and wage growth that was closer to more typical historical levels”.

It also hailed efforts to boost margins through a series of initiatives, including driving higher sales of more profitable own-brand products.

The company raised up its interim dividend by 5.2%.

Argo Blockchain (ARB.L)

Argo Blockchain fell out of favour with investors this morning, tumbling as number as 7% on the day, despite reducing its debts to $75m (£59.6m) through the first half of 2023.

The crypto mining firm has now cut its debt by a total of $68m, having owed some $143m in June 2022.

But the group reported half year net losses of $18.8m, down more than 50% from a net loss of $39.6m in the same period last year.

Revenues were down by 31%, with the business netting $24m midway through 2023, which it linked to a decrease in the value of Bitcoin (BTC-USD) and an increase global hash rate.

It mined 947 Bitcoin through the first half of the year, an increase of just 1% of the BTC mined during the same period in 2022.

Read more: LIVE: FTSE surges as UK food price rises slow to lowest rate in 10 months

"For the remainder of 2023, the company will continue to focus on strengthening the balance sheet and growing the business with a strong emphasis on financial discipline and operational excellence," Matthew Shaw, chairman, said.

"I am excited for Argo to continue in its mission of powering the world's most innovative and sustainable blockchain infrastructure in this next stage of the company's development."

Persimmon (PSN.L)

Persimmon received a boost on Tuesday after levelling-up secretary Michael Gove announced an easing of strict planning rules.

Shares surged more than 4.5% on the day as Gove confirmed that he would scrap so-called “nutrient neutrality” rules imposed by Brussels, which the government blames for blocking the provision of new homes, even where planning permission is granted.

The rules were introduced under an EU directive on habitats and reinforced by a 2018 European Court of Justice ruling that said adding nutrients to soil that was already in poor condition would be unlawful.

Gove said: "We are committed to building the homes this country needs and to enhancing our environment."

"The way EU rules have been applied has held us back. These changes will provide a multibillion-pound boost for the UK economy and see us build more than 100,000 new homes."

Dalata Hotal Group (DAL.L)

Shares in Dalata spiked 8% in London after the Irish hotel group said it had grown its London portfolio twice as fast as the rest of UK during the second quarter of the year.

The owner of the Clayton and Maldron chains saw 23% growth in like-for-like revenue per available room in London, compared to 12% elsewhere. This was driven both by higher occupancy and higher room rates, it said.

It revealed that group profit rose by 24% to €103.4m (£88m) and declared an interim dividend of four cents per share, representing a dividend payment of about €8.9m.

The firm's Maldron Hotel Shoreditch, London, which has 157 rooms, is due to be completed in the second quarter of next year, bringing its London room portfolio to 876.

Dermot Crowley, CEO, said: “Our performance year to date has been exceptional, thanks to all of our teams throughout the business, whose commitment and dedication are evident in the results announced today and in the continuous delivery of our ambitious growth strategy.

“We have continued to expand our asset portfolio with the two recent high-quality acquisitions in London which are both performing well.

“This speaks to the strength of our balance sheet and our development team’s ability to identify and deliver additional rooms in times of market volatility and uncertainty.”

Watch: How does inflation affect interest rates?

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