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Trading tide may have turned for BTR

BTR was the only FTSE 100 company to see its share price rise yesterday after it gave a modestly up-beat view of trading in the second half. Analysts, braced for bad news after previous trading statements had led to a string of downgraded profit forecasts, said the news could mark a turning point for the industrial conglomerate.

The shares have underperformed the rest of the stock market by 44 per cent over the last three years. Yesterday, they added 7p to 237.5p while other share prices collapsed.

BTR said it had made further progress in implementing the pounds 622m shake- up of the business announced in September, adding that it expected the second-half performance of its continuing businesses to show "some improvement" over the first six months of the year. There would, however, be "some adverse translation impact" from the current strength of the pound.

Ian Strachan, chief executive, said the statement merely confirmed what was said in September. But some analysts said that the tide might be turning for BTR.