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FTSE trio soars as updates show UK is thriving in Covid recovery

Shares in three of FTSE’s biggest firms soar after latest updates show UK plc is thriving amid the Covid recovery

Three of Britain’s biggest companies saw their shares soar after a flurry of updates showed UK plc is thriving in the wake of the pandemic.

Almost £3billion was added to the combined value of drinks giant Diageo, shopping centre and office owner Land Securities and telecoms group Vodafone after they each said business was booming.

Johnnie Walker and Guinness-maker Diageo turned heads with an ambitious strategy to capture more of the global drinks market in the coming years.

Guinness-maker Diageo turned heads with an ambitious strategy to capture more of the global drinks market in the coming years

Vodafone said lucrative roaming fees were back on track and customers were snapping up new handsets again, while cautious investors breathed a sigh of relief as Land Securities bounded back into profit.

Each company saw their shares pop – with Diageo reaching all-time highs –despite the wider FTSE 100 lagging and finishing in the red. 

Susannah Streeter, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: ‘The FTSE 100 may have slipped into negative territory [yesterday] but it is masking a string of stellar performances. 

The underlying trend is one of gathering momentum, as the recovery accelerates the demand for drinks, phones and office space and consumers show signs of being desperate to return to pre-pandemic ways of living, working and travelling.’

Diageo jumped after it said it expects to smash profit forecasts in its current financial year and predicted sales would rise by 16 per cent. Shares rose 1.2 per cent, or 45.5p, to 3862.5p, but briefly hit 3948.5p.

The group has set itself a target to have 6 per cent of the global market share of alcoholic drinks by 2030. It has about 4 per cent.  


Between 2023 and 2025, it has pegged growth to be between 5 per cent to 7 per cent a year.

The company was hit by the on-off closure of pubs, restaurants and bars for much of the last 18 months as governments brought in lockdowns and tight restrictions but is benefiting from reopenings worldwide. 

Land Securities climbed by 3.7 per cent, or 26.2p, to 736.4p as boss Mark Allan said a ‘recovery’ in the central London office market helped it return to profit. 

It made £275million in the first half – compared with a loss of £835million last year.

Its performance boosted rival British Land, which rose 3.1 per cent, or 16p, to 533.4p.

The property giant, which owns Bluewater shopping centre in Kent and the Piccadilly Lights at Piccadilly Circus, said businesses were keen to find new spaces even though many people are working from home.

And Vodafone was the top blue-chip riser, jumping 4.8 per cent, or 5.4p, to 117.92p, as it said customers finally felt comfortable enough about their finances to start buying handsets again. Phone sales slumped last year.

Total sales rose 5 per cent to £19billion, as the return of overseas travel meant revenue from roaming also climbed.