Security firm G4S proved a safe bet on a day when stocks suffered heavy falls for a second day running.
The group, which is still tainted by the London 2012 Olympics fiasco, rose 3.2p to 269.9p as its half-year results reassured investors when they came in as expected. Rising sales in emerging markets, which now make up more than a third of G4S’s business, lifted revenues by 2.8 per cent to £3.29bn. Chief executive Ashley Almanza said G4S won contracts worth £1.4bn in the first half of 2015, which helped offset the loss of an electronic tagging contract with the Government. A 5 per cent rise in the interim dividend to 3.59p also helped to keep investors sweet.
The stock was among the few risers on the FTSE 100, which tumbled 93.35 points to 6,571.19 after the second devaluation by China of the renminbi in a day.
Investors would normally rush to defensive stocks like G4S when markets are falling, but concerns over the speed of growth in China, which has more than 300 million smokers, hurt traditional defensive play tobacco and spirits stocks. British American Tobacco, which has a deal with the state-owned China Tobacco, fell 66.5p to 3,707.5p, Imperial Tobacco lost 66p to 3,276p, while drinks company Diageo dropped 33.5p to 1,775p.
Commodities giant Glencore was the biggest loser, down 10.8p to record lows of 180.2p, while luxury fashion firm Burberry, for which China is the most important market, dropped 54p to 1,482p.
Egyptian gold miner Centamin shone at the top of the FTSE 250, up 6.1p to 60.75p thanks to a rise in the gold price – as investors rushed for safe-haven assets – and encouraging second-quarter production figures. The company, whose revenues and profits fell as expected due to the lower gold price, suggested it would produce 430,000-440,000 ounces of gold in 2015, more than analysts were predicting.
On the junior market, GoldBridges Global Resources rose as it unveiled plans for underground mining in Kazakhstan, supported by the billionaire Assaubayev family, which own more than 60 per cent of the gold miner.