Savers and pensioners got another boost to their coffers after bumper results prompted Hays to resume dividends and CRH to increase its payout.
Recruitment group Hays will hand out £150million in a one-off dividend in November after it hailed a ‘dramatic’ rebound in the global jobs market.
This is worth 8.93p per share, though investors will receive 10.15p, or £170million, in total because it will distribute a standard dividend too.
Recruitment group Hays will hand out £150m in a one-off dividend in November after it hailed a ‘dramatic’ rebound in the global jobs market
Companies in virtually every industry cut, deferred or cancelled their payouts last year to save cash when the pandemic struck.
Profits at FTSE 250-listed Hays, which is based in London, rose 2 per cent to £88million in the year to June.
The first half was characterised by a stagnant job market as lockdowns and Covid restrictions kept many people working from home or on furlough.
Stock Watch – Eden Research
Portugal has given the green light for Eden Research’s sustainable pesticide to be used on more types of fruit and vegetables.
Mevalone can now be applied to strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, kiwi fruit, aubergines and peppers to treat the fungal disease Botrytis cinerea, which damages many species of plants.
Portugal’s moist and mild climate makes good conditions for growing crops – but it also creates ideal conditions for fungi to grow. Shares in AIM-listed Eden Research, which is based in Oxford, remained flat at 8.75p.
Many workers were petrified about their job security and few companies were hiring before vaccine rollouts made them loosen the purse strings again.
But recruitment is now booming, Hays said, and its annual results were helped by a 39 per cent rise in fees between the third and fourth quarters.
The 53-year-old company said this was a record jump or, in City speak, that it had ‘never before seen such a sharp positive sequential improvement in trading’.
The technology and life sciences industries are among those seeing the sharpest jumps in wages on offer as there are ‘clear signs of skills shortages’.
Irish building materials business CRH, meanwhile, said profits roughly doubled to £725million in the first half of the year as sales rose 15 per cent.
A big jump was likely, as the year before many construction projects had ground to a halt over the spring.
But CRH added that it was still getting a lift from sales of materials used in home improvements and extensions, especially in North America.
It has hiked its payout by 4.5 per cent to 23p per share.
Both companies jumped to the top of their respective leaderboards, with Hays rising 4.1 per cent, or 6.4p, to 163.4p on the FTSE 250 and FTSE 100-listed CRH rallying 3.9 per cent, or 148p, to 3921p.
But it was a gloomier day across the wider market ahead of US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell’s speech at Jackson Hole in Wyoming today.
The mid-cap index fell 0.14 per cent, or 33.98 points, to 23,952.39, while the Footsie closed down 0.35 per cent, or 25.14 points, at 7124.98.
Russian gold miner Polymetal tumbled 3.6 per cent, or 55p, to 1468.5p after it said it expects its spending for the year to rise by 20 per cent because costs are soaring.
This could offset the gains from higher silver and gold prices, which soared during the pandemic and are still much stronger than before 2020.
Elsewhere, Grosvenor Casinos and Mecca Bingo-owner Rank Group lost ground after its chief finance officer, Bill Floydd, was poached by Watches of Switzerland.
Floydd will succeed Anders Romberg, who has been in the role for seven years and steered it through a successful float, while Rank has kicked off the search for a successor.
Shares in Watches of Switzerland, which is the UK’s biggest seller of Rolexes, were little moved, gaining 0.2 per cent, or 2p, to 1016p. But Rank slid 0.8 per cent, or 1.4p, to 178.6p after the news.
Volex, an AIM-listed company run by Nat Rothschild, of the Rothschild banking dynasty, rose 2 per cent, or 7.5p, to 385.5p after it bought American aerospace and defence minnow Irvine Electronics for £12million.
Irvine provides components such as circuit boards to groups such as Nasa and Boeing.
The takeover – albeit of a small firm – turns on its head the trend of American companies buying British defence firms.
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