Updates from John Laing, Dignity and Diploma

Adrian Holliday
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100, John Laing, Diploma, Dignity
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100, John Laing, Diploma, Dignity

David Cameron's victory at the polls gave the FTSE 100 a 2.3% kick higher on Friday; it ended the day at 7,046.8, up almost 170 points. Support services Babcock was the biggest overall winner, up 9.3% to 1083p. Centrica was up 8% to 278p while St James's Place surged more than 7% to 962p. There was strong gains for Barratt too, up 7.1% not to mention Capita, up 6.7%.

Over in the US better jobs news propelled the Dow Jones 1.4%, surging more than 267 points to 18,191.1, meaning a 0.9% gain on the week overall.

We commence with a six-month update from instruments and technical products operator Diploma. Revenues climb 10% to £163.2m while adjusted operating profit climbs 6% to £29.6m. After tax profit climbs 10% to £18.7m.

Diploma's hydraulic seals revenues increased by 8% on an underlying basis, benefitting from better US demand. Life Sciences revenues increased by 1% on an underlying basis.

"While headwinds to organic growth remain," says boss Bruce Thompson, "in certain key markets, the acquisition pipeline remains encouraging and the Group will continue to focus on bringing these opportunities to completion."

We move onto John Laing Infrastructure Fund. There is 1.8% underlying portfolio growth for the three months to 31 March 2015 of 1.84% - £15.6 million on a rebased value of £849.8 million.

There's also a dividend of 3.375 pence per share declared in March 2015 for the six-month period to December 2014, to be paid in May. There's NAV per share of 106.6 pence ex-dividend claims John Laing.

"The start of 2015," says chairman Paul Lester, "has seen continued underlying growth in the value of the portfolio. The Board remains positive about the outlook for future portfolio growth."

Lastly, funeral services company Dignity says revenues were upped 23.7% in the last quarter to £85.5m. Underlying profit rises almost 39% to £35.8m for the company with the number of deaths rising 19% to 175,000.

The Group has acquired 10 funeral locations since the start of the year, costing £8 million says Dignity. The Group's expectations for the full year remain positive and unchanged.

"The year has started very strongly compared to a weak first quarter last year," says boss Mike McCollum. "Our client surveys confirm that even though the business is very busy, service levels remain extremely high."

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