In a world of panic and chaos, investors can always rely on Bunzl to put in a performance.
The company is not exactly the most glamorous on the FTSE 100, quietly supplying businesses with products including coffee cups, rubber gloves, hard hats and toilet rolls.
But it rarely misses its targets and was today one of only three stocks in the black on the main market as it posted a rise in revenues and profits.
Revenue rose 2.7% to £9.33 billion last year, driven by a particularly strong performance in the US following the acquisition of packaging firm Joshen Paper & Packaging.
This helped profit increase by 6.7% to £453.3 million. The firm’s 27-year track record of dividend growth also continued, with a 2.2% jump to 51.3p.
The shares rose 2%, or 46p, to 1994p. One broker said: “This is not a flash stock. It simply provides products that every company needs and can’t live without.”
Bunzl aside there was little for investors to cheer as many fled equities amid fears coronavirus could turn into a pandemic.
The FTSE 100 tumbled 200.44 points to 7200.99, while the FTSE 250 lost 595.07 to 21,185.13.
Further down the league and Sirius Minerals was again in focus after reports over the weekend that Odey Asset Management is looking to raise its stake in the struggling miner further.
Analysts believe this shows the hedge fund run by Crispin Odey is serious about its fight over Anglo American’s £405 million takeover.
Odey has a 1.3% stake at an average price of 4.9p a share and is pushing for an increase in Anglo’s takeover bid from 5.5p to 7p or more. Sirius shareholders will vote on the deal on March 3.
The shares were down 0.1p to 5.1p.
But there were some bright spots, including litigation financier Manolete Partners after broker Peel Hunt handed the company a Buy rating.
According to analyst Andrew Shepherd-Barron, Manolete has benefited from a successful IPO in 2018, which has raised the company’s profile and resulted in increased cases.
The shares were up 1p to 384p. It comes as rival Burford Capital continues to struggle after a short attack from Muddy Waters last summer.