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FTSE flags as sterling rebounds on Brexit hopes

Tuesday, 21st May 2019
News Theresa May plans to offer MPs a chance to vote on a potential second Brexit referendum and membership of a customs union with the EU saw sterling surge on Tuesday afternoon.

This stalled the momentum of the FTSE 100 as it hit the relative value of the overseas earnings which dominate the index. By the close it was up 0.25% at 7,327.92 having earlier traded as much as 0.7% higher.

On Wall Street the S&P 500 was faring rather better, advancing 0.9% to 2,864.71 on hopes of a thaw in US and Chinese trade relations.

Airline stocks struggled amid the recent surge in oil prices with International Consolidated Airlines down 1.8% and Easyjet descending 0.6%.

LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

TV and film business Entertainment One fell 7.1% as investors seemingly ignored a 21% increase in adjusted earnings to focus on a 43% drop in statutory pre-tax profit as the company's full year results were hit by several one-off items. Revenue also came in short of expectations.

Supermarket giant Tesco gained 0.9% on announcing that its banking division had ceased new mortgage lending and that it was was actively seeking to sell the entire loan book.

Construction company Galliford Try rallied 15.4% on guiding for its full-year results to meet market expectations, supported by ongoing demand for housing and efforts to trim its construction business.

Water utility Severn Trent gained 1.1% after it posted a sure and steady 6.8% rise in annual profit, driven by higher sales in its regulated and waste water business following tariff increases.

Meat producer Cranswick sizzled 0.5% higher as it booked a modest rise in annual adjusted profit, despite citing pressure on sales from competition and Brexit uncertainty.

Cycling and motor equipment retailer Halfords was flat after posting a 24% fall in annual profit that was nevertheless in line with guidance.

Booking and convenience retailer WH Smith gained 0.2% on reporting a large rise in year-to date-sales, as it rolled out new outlets at airports. High street sales, however, continued to come under pressure. The company also revealed the departure of CEO Stephen Clarke to be replaced by retail industry veteran Carl Cowling.

Healthcare services provider UDG Healthcare gained 6.7% on announcing that it had acquired two consultancy groups for up to a combined $106.3m.

London West End property investor Shaftesbury gained 0.2% after it booked a 69% fall in first-half profit owing to the impact of property revaluations. Underlying earnings, however, were supported by higher rental income and the company upped its dividend by 4.8%.

Document management business Restore added 1.4% on news that it had poached Neil Ritchie, the chief financial officer of luxury handbag group Mulberry, as its finance head. Mulberry shares fell 3.3%.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Footwear retailer Shoe Zone fell 5.7% after it booked a flat first-half profit owing to a small fall in sales.

Topps Tiles slipped 3.3% as its profits in the first half were dragged down by start up costs at its new commercial business, though underlying profits improved.

Engineering services group Renew gained 1.9% after it posted a rise in first-half profit, amid a sales boost provided by its acquisition last May of QTS.


Story provided by StockMarketWire.com


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