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Tesco tops FTSE on doubled dividend and bumper profits

Tesco tops FTSE on doubled dividend and bumper profits

Tesco (TSCO) has jumped to the top of the FTSE 100 after the supermarket nearly doubled its dividend and unveiled a 34% jump in annual profits.

The shares rose 3.2% to 241.4p as the supermarket unveiled a 4.1p final dividend, taking the full-year payout of 5.77p per share, up from 3p in its 2018 financial year.

The rise in the payout helps to restore some of Tesco's dividend credentials lost when the UK's largest retailer was forced into a three-year hiatus following the discovery of a £263 million accounting black hole in 2014.

Alasdair McKinnon, who boasts Tesco as the largest holding in his Scottish Investment Trust (SCIN), said the supermarket was now delivering on its promise.

'Tesco has, in recent years, been a "show me" stock,' he said. 'These results go some way to fulfilling that request from investors, although, the next question playing on investors' minds will be, "What next?".

'We believe that Tesco is well placed to provide a satisfactory answer.'

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the results highlighted the progress made by boss Dave Lewis since taking over five years ago.

'The supermarket's has rebuilt profits and dividends and gathered consistent sales momentum in its core UK business,' he said.

'Margins are much healthier and look set to meet Lewis' margin target of around 4% in the coming financial year.'

The FTSE 100 meanwhile stalled, edging two points lower to 7,423. Reckitt Benckiser (RB) was the biggest faller, down 6.1% at £60.18, hurt by fraud charges against its former subsidiary Indivior (INDV), which dived to the bottom of the FTSE 250, down 68.6% at 33.3p.

G4S (GFS) jumped to the other end of the 'mid-cap' index, surging 19.4% to 220.3p as Canada's Garda World Security said it was considering a bid for the security company.

Stagecoach (SGC) was in the red, down 9.8% at 120.3p after the transport operator's bids to renew East Midlands and West Coast rail franchises were rejected.

Among 'small-cap' stocks, Allied Minds (ALML) gave up some of yesterday's strong gains on activist Crystal Amber's (CRSL) offer to wind down the early stage tech investor, falling 8.3% to 59.4p.

Shares in Alternative Investment Market stock Asos (ASOS), meanwhile, jumped 7.8%, sticking to full-year guidance despite an 87% fall in first-half profits.

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