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Weakness in utility stocks hits FTSE

Wednesday, 6th February 2019
The FTSE 100 fell into negative territory as weakness in utilities and healthcare stocks dragged on performance.

At midday, the blue-chip index was 0.1% lower at 7,166.

MID AND LARGE RISERS AND FALLERS

House builder Barratt Developments gained 2.8% after it unveiled a 19% rise in first-half profit driven by higher completions and stronger margins.

Rival builder Redrow climbed 0.7% on news it had declared a special cash payout to shareholders amid a 5% rise in first-half profit.

Plastics supplier Victrex was flat at £23.60 on announcing that its first-quarter revenue slumped, due to market headwinds, de-stocking and adverse currency movements.

Water utility Severn Trent advanced 0.2% after announcing that it would post a full-year performance in line with its prior guidance.

AstraZeneca dropped 1%, despite announcing that US regulators had granted orphan drug status for its treatment for hypereosinophilic syndrome, a rare condition that can damage organs in the body.

Financial services company Just Group added 3% as it posted a 15% rise in annual new business sales, buoyed by increased demand for retirement income products.

Brick maker Ibstock firmed 0.2% on announcing it had poached Tate & Lyle's Chrish McLeish to be its new chief financial officer, to replace Kevin Sims, who had decided to retire by year-end.

Industrial and electronics products supplier Electrocomponents gained 6% as it notched 6% growth in like-for-like revenue in the fourth months through January on-year.

High street lender CYBG revealed net annual interest margins hit the top end of its forecast range, sparking a 14.2% rally to 204.2p.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Outsourcer Interserve was up 10.5% at 14.5p after agreeing a de-leveraging plan with its lenders, bondholders and pension trustees. There were also reports that the company received a letter from shareholder Coltrane Master Fund calling for a general meeting to dismiss nearly the entire board.

Broking house WH Ireland dropped 9.7% after it warned that volatile market conditions had hit revenue across all of its businesses, while its costs had also risen.


Story provided by StockMarketWire.com


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