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FTSE falls flat amid weaker utility stocks

Wednesday, 17th April 2019
The FTSE 100 struggled to gain momentum as weakness among utility stocks weighed on performance, leaving the blue-chip index only 1.4 points higher at 7,471.

Wall Street was also subdued despite upbeat Chinese data overnight with the tech-heavy Nasdaq index the only one enjoying any gains, up 0.3% at 7,675 at around 4:45pm UK time.

Brent crude oil was stable at $71.81 per barrel and copper climbed 1.2% to $2.97 per pound.


Mining titan BHP fell 2.5% after it cut its iron-ore output guidance following cyclones in Australia's remote Pilbara region.

Car dealer Pendragon posted a loss in the first quarter after its sales margins shrank. Its shares fell 9.7%.

Healthcare services group Mediclinic International jumped 7.8% after it announced it would post a 3.5% fall in annual earnings, a shallower drop than what the market had feared.

Jet2 owner Dart Group dipped 0.1% as it warns of a hit from Brexit uncertainty.

Outsourcing group Bunzl tumbled 9.3% on announcing that its revenue growth had slowed during the quarter due to mixed macroeconomic and market conditions.

Financial services company Quilter fell 0.7% despite its assets under management growing 5.1% in the first quarter, supported by market performance.

Utility services provider Telecom Plus dropped 3.2% on warning that its annual profit would be at the lower end of its previous guidance range.

Packaging group DS Smith gained 0.9% on the back of news that it agreed to sell two packaging businesses in France and Portugal to International Paper for €63m. The deal satisfies a regulatory condition of its acquisition of Europac.

Property investor and developer Segro shed 1.5% after it secured £21.2m of new headline rent in the first quarter, though this was lower than the £27.3m secured on-year.

Home builder Countryside Properties gained 5% as it forecast improved completions in the second half.


Disease diagnostic kit supplier Omega Diagnostics dropped 0.8% as it warned of a full-year loss.

Georgian oil firm Block Energy gained 24.1% as the latest results from a very successful well in the country confirmed earlier positive results.

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