MARKET REPORT: Double dividend joy does work for savers

Savers and retirees received another boost in their coffers after excellent results prompted Hays to resume dividends and CRH to increase payout.

Recruiting group Hays is set to pay out £150m in a one-time dividend in November after it hailed a ‘dramatic’ recovery in the global job market.

This is worth 8.93 pence per share, although investors will receive a total of 10.15 pence or £170 million as it will also pay a standard dividend.

Recruitment group Hays to pay out £150m in a one-time dividend in November after it greeted a ‘dramatic’ recovery in the global job market

Companies in virtually every industry cut, delayed or canceled their payouts last year to save money when the pandemic hit.

Profits at Hays, which is listed on the FTSE 250 and based in London, rose 2 percent in the year to June to £88 million.

The first half was marked by a sluggish labor market as lockdowns and Covid restrictions left many people working from home or on leave.

Stock Watch – Eden Research

Portugal has given the green light for the use of Eden Research’s sustainable pesticide on more types of fruit and vegetables.

Mevalone can now be applied to strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, kiwis, aubergines and peppers to treat the fungal disease Botrytis cinerea, which affects many plant species.

The humid and mild climate of Portugal provides good conditions for growing crops, but it also creates ideal conditions for fungi to grow. Shares in Oxford-based AIM-listed Eden Research remained stable at 8.75p.

Many workers were petrified about their job security and few companies hired people before the vaccinations allowed them to loosen their wallets again.

But recruitment is booming now, Hays said, and the full-year results were helped by a 39 percent increase in compensation between the third and fourth quarters.

The 53-year-old company said this was a record jump or, in City parlance, it had “never seen such a sharp positive sequential improvement in trading before.”

The technology and life sciences industries are among the sectors seeing the biggest wage increases as there are “clear signs of skills shortages”.

Irish building materials company CRH, meanwhile, said profits roughly doubled to £725 million in the first half of the year, while sales rose 15 per cent.

A big jump was likely, as many construction projects had stalled in the spring the year before.

But CRH added that it continued to receive a boost from sales of materials used for home improvements and extensions, especially in North America.

It has increased its payout by 4.5 percent to 23 pence per share.

Both companies jumped to the top of their respective leaderboards, with Hays rising 4.1 percent, or 6.4p, to 163.4p on the FTSE 250 and the FTSE 100-listed CRH up 3.9 percent, or 148p, to 3921p.

But it was a bleak day on the broader market ahead of US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming today.

The midcap index fell 0.14 percent or 33.98 points to 23,952.39, while the Footsie closed 0.35 percent or 25.14 points at 7124.98.

Russian gold miner Polymetal fell 3.6 percent, or 55p, to 1468.5p after saying it expects its spending to rise 20 percent for the year as costs rise.

This could offset gains from higher silver and gold prices, which have surged during the pandemic and are still much stronger than before 2020.

Elsewhere, Grosvenor Casinos and Mecca Bingo owner Rank Group lost ground after their chief finance officer, Bill Floydd, was poached by Watches of Switzerland.

Floydd succeeds Anders Romberg, who has been in the role for seven years and led it through a successful float, while Rank has begun the search for a successor.

Shares in Watches of Switzerland, the UK’s largest Rolex retailer, moved little, gaining 0.2 percent, or 2p, to 1016p. But Rank slipped 0.8 percent, 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 percent, or 7.5p, to 385.5p after it bought US aerospace and defense minnow Irvine Electronics for £12 million .

Irvine supplies components such as printed circuit boards to groups such as NASA and Boeing.

The acquisition – albeit of a small company – is turning the trend of US companies to buy up British defense companies on its head.

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