FTSE indices dip as Burberry profits fall, Aviva shines with premium growth

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FTSE indices dip as Burberry profits fall, Aviva shines with premium growth
Credit: © Reuters.

LONDON - The FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 indices faced a downturn today, with the FTSE 100 closing down by half a percent at 7,448 and the FTSE 250 declining by 1.2% to end at 18,458. Despite a challenging macroeconomic environment, luxury fashion house Burberry reported a seven percent increase in half-year revenue. However, it wasn't all positive news for the retailer as it also saw a 15 percent drop in profit, causing its shares to tumble over 10%. In response, Burberry announced an 11% hike in its interim dividend.

In contrast to Burberry's mixed results, insurance giant Aviva (LON: AV ) boasted strong third-quarter figures. The company, steered by CEO Amanda Blanc, enjoyed a 13% surge in gross written premiums attributed to new business volumes and retention. Aviva's shares edged up by 0.8%, and the firm reaffirmed its operating profit growth target and total dividend guidance of approximately 33.4 pence for the year.

The financial services sector had some positive developments as Close Brothers Group reported a significant 7.5% increase in its loan book to £9.8 billion. The firm has been actively hiring to expand its asset management division.

Meanwhile, Premier Foods showcased robust performance with a revenue growth of 19.2% and managed to reduce its net debt to £273 million from £338 million.

In the transport and logistics sector, IDS, the parent company of Royal Mail (LON: IDSI ), posted an operating loss of £169 million despite GLS turning a profit. This loss included Royal Mail's staggering £319 million deficit. Elsewhere in the market, CMC (NS: CMC ) Markets (LON: CMCX ) revealed a slowdown in trading activity resulting in a dividend cut and a slight share decrease of 0.2%. Property development firm Great Portland Estates reported signing 37 new leases and renewals but saw its shares decline by 3.4%.

The hospitality industry is set for expansion as Young’s announced plans to acquire City Pub Group, which will significantly enhance their premium bedroom offerings.

On the commodities front, Brent crude oil was trading at $80.4 per barrel, down by 0.9%, while precious metals saw an uptick with gold rising by 0.3% to $1,964 per ounce and silver increasing by 0.8% to $23.6 per ounce.

Amid these market movements, investors are keeping a close eye on corporate performances as companies navigate through economic uncertainties and strategize for future growth.

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