A FTSE 100 dividend star and buyers hooked on Angling Direct shares

by Graeme Evans from interactive investor |

This reliable blue-chip just keeps rising, while the resumption of fishing gave this AIM stock a boost.

An AGM season without shareholders meant no fanfare today for fast-rising Reckitt Benckiser (LSE:RB.) or much of a send-off for departing Martin Gilbert at Standard Life Aberdeen.

The companies and their respective investors instead made do with places on the FTSE 100 index risers board, with Reckitt up another 2% to its highest level since September 2018.

The Dettol and Lysol maker has capitalised on demand for its products in the current Covid-19 crisis, such as this month's alliance helping hotels business Hilton to enhance cleaning and disinfection protocols.

Reckitt looks in good shape to sustain dividend payments, having recently reported that 2020 trading had got off to a better than expected start. Today's AGM rubber-stamped Reckitt's final dividend of 101.6p worth £721 million, ahead of its payment on 28 May.

Source: TradingView. Past performance is not a guide to future performance.

Standard Life Aberdeen (LSE:SLA)shares surged 5% after describing the response of clients and customers to recent market volatility as “considered”.

This meant that assets under management and administration held firm at a better-than-expected £490 billion at the end of April.

Chief executive Keith Skeoch told those shareholders signed in for the virtual AGM that balance sheet strength had served the company well, allowing SLA to stick by plans to pay a dividend in relation to 2019 trading.

There was also a video presentation from Gilbert, who today relinquished his role as vice-chairman prior to leaving the company in September.

Over more than 30 years, he turned Aberdeen Asset Management from an operation with three people in one office in Aberdeen - with £50 million under management - into a global and widely respected investment firm. He led the business into its £3.8 billion merger with Standard Life in August 2017, after which Gilbert's focus was on strengthening client relationships.

The FTSE 100 index, meanwhile, topped the 6,000 level for the first time in May after rising 1% on the back of relief over Vodafone (LSE:VOD) unchanged dividend in today's annual results. Vodafone shares were 7% higher, while Morrisons (LSE:MRW) rose 4% following a reassuring trading update.

In the FTSE 250 index, B&Q owner Kingfisher (LSE:KGF) jumped 8% after its detailed trading update reassured investors about trading during the lockdowns in the UK and France.

The first week of April saw UK sales slide by 70% on a like-for-like basis, with Castorama and Brico Depot outlets in France down 86.8%. By the fourth week of April, there was a significant improvement in the UK at both B&Q and Screwfix, largely due to demand via contactless click & collect, and the reopening of some B&Q stores at the end of the week.

Like-for-like sales in the UK were up 18.9% last week, leading to a total group improvement of 2.7% for the seven days. The resumption of sales growth comes after strong trading prior to the Covid-19 disruption, with February's underlying revenues up 2.3% on a year earlier.

CEO Thierry Garnier said the company had sufficient financial headroom to cope with a prolonged period of reduced sales. He added:

“Overall, the operational and financial actions we have taken give us a sound footing in the current crisis and beyond.”

Kingfisher shares rose to 176p, having fallen from 221.9p in February to 124p in mid-March.

At AIM-listed Angling Direct (LSE:ANG), the UK’s largest fishing tackle retailer, has been boosted by the government's announcement that the sport can resume from Wednesday.

Source: TradingView. Past performance is not a guide to future performance.

It is in the advanced stages of readiness for when its 35 physical stores are allowed to re-open with appropriate safety measures in place. Online trading has held up well during the lockdown, after a 24% sales rise in April and a further acceleration of these trends in May.

Cash at the end of April was £6 million, with the company also having access to a £2.5 million undrawn credit facility until September. Shares have continued to recover from April's 29p low, rising another 11% to 66p today for a level near where they were prior to the market sell-off.

These articles are provided for information purposes only. Occasionally, an opinion about whether to buy or sell a specific investment may be provided by third parties. The content is not intended to be a personal recommendation to buy or sell any financial instrument or product, or to adopt any investment strategy as it is not provided based on an assessment of your investing knowledge and experience, your financial situation or your investment objectives. The value of your investments, and the income derived from them, may go down as well as up. You may not get back all the money that you invest. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser.

Full performance can be found on the company or index summary page on the interactive investor website. Simply click on the company's or index name highlighted in the article.

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