Market Report: Budget has wealth managers rubbing their hands together with glee


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Wealth managers were rubbing their hands together with glee at yesterday’s Budget.

The Chancellor unveiled further plans to unlock annuities, more incentives to save through tax breaks and more flexibility for Isas – all measures that could swell the coffers of asset managers. Panmure Gordon flagged St James’s Place as one of the biggest winners, thanks to the reduction of the lifetime pensions limit from £1.25m to £1m. Barrie Cornes at Panmure thinks this will mean more big money customers at high-end advisers such as St James’s, which jumped 48p to 978p. Hargreaves Lansdown rose 32p to 1,206p, Standard Life improved 8.3p to 478.2p and Prudential moved up 35p to 1,733p.

The speech also boosted housebuilders, with hopes that new help-to-buy Isas will put some rocket fuel into the property market. Taylor Wimpey rose 3.9p to 153,2p, while Persimmon climbed 16p to 1,760p.

Budget optimism helped propel the FTSE 100 back to record levels, climbing 107.59 points to 6,945.20 – just 16 points off the all-time high.

Standard Chartered jumped 78p to 1,043p. A balance sheet review is likely to uncover another $5bn (£3.4bn) of bad debt and a £3.2bn rights issue is more than likely to fund the turnaround, say Barclays. But after the painful restructure analysts expect shares to soar as it comes in line with peers.

Microchip designer Imagination Technologies tumbled 28p to 230.25p as it slashed its growth targets for one of its key revenue drivers – licensing – which indicates whether businesses are signing up to use its technology. finnCap’s Lorne Daniel warned that the company “faces significant hurdles in competition and R&D expenditure”.

Synety, which provides software that lets people make calls from websites, collapsed 35.72p to 97.5p on AIM as it revealed widening losses and tapped investors for cash. Synety fell to a loss of £5.5m last year, from £3.7m in 2013. The company raised £2.8m through a placing of shares at 90p, with plans to raise a further £750,000 in the open market. The cash will be put towards beefing up its US sales operations.