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- The flash IHS Markit/CIPS UK composite PMI jumped to a seven-month high of 56.6 in March.
- The manufacturing PMI rose to a high of 57.9 for the month.
The UK business activity has returned to growth in March, as per the latest reading of the flash IHS Markit/CIPS UK composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), which rose to 56.6 from 49.6 in February. It was the fastest jump in the index since August on the back of an increase in new orders since September.
A PMI value above 50 indicates a business expansion while one below that signifies contraction in the economic activity. Both manufacturing and services PMI performed well, which are part of the composite index, recording a value of 57.9 and 56.8, respectively, for March, up from the corresponding numbers of 55.1 and 49.5, respectively, for February.
Chris Williamson, the chief business economist, IHS Markit, said that the two main reasons for the rebound were businesses preparing for re-opening and a rise in consumer confidence due to the vaccine roll-out. However, he emphasised that worries persisted with regards to continued supply chain delays, dwindling exports and rising input prices.
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UK industrials sector
The sector includes manufacturing and distribution of capital goods such as engineering and building products, aerospace and defense, electrical equipment, construction, and industrial machinery.
According to the latest government statistics, the UK industrial output rose 1.8 per cent in Q4 2020. However, on an absolute level, it was still lower by 3.6 per cent by the end of December as compared to its pre-Covid levels during February 2020.
Let us now glance through the day’s top three industrials’ sector gainers on the LSE.
Hargreaves Services Plc (LON: HSP)
A diversified company delivering services to the industrial and property businesses, Hargreaves announced that Blackwell, its specialist earthworks business, was shortlisted to carry out select operations on part of the HS2 earthworks infrastructure project.
The company’s share price jumped 3.15 per cent to GBX 328.00 on 24 March at 12.02 PM.
DS Smith Plc (LON: SMDS)
The leading sustainable packaging solutions provider released its latest trading update on 3 March and noted that the overall trading volumes were in line with its expectations. It witnessed a strong box volume performance driven by its differentiated offerings. Miles Roberts, the group chief executive, said that the firm’s sustainable packaging solutions saw excellent demand from its e-commerce and FMCG customers.
The company’s shares were hovering at GBX 404.60, up 1.53 per cent from the previous close at 12.13 PM on 24 March.
Coats Group Plc (LON: COA)
The UK based industrial threads firm released its full year financial results for the period ending 31 December 2020 on 4 March 2021. The company generated an adjusted operating profit of US $111 million for FY 2020 (FY 2019: US $198 million). The basic earnings per share were 2.4c for 2020 (FY 2019: 7.0c). The company proposed a final dividend of 1.30c per share for 2020, payable in May 2021 (FY 2019: nil).
The company shares (LON: COA) were up 0.50 per cent to GBX 60.90 in the post noon trade on 24 March.