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FTSE flat as sterling surges ahead of key Brexit vote

Wednesday, 13th March 2019
The FTSE 100 barely remained in positive territory after sterling surged on the likelihood that MPs will vote against a no-deal Brexit tonight, paving the way for an extension to Article 50.

By the close, the blue-chip index was up only 0.1% at 7,159.

Wall Street enjoyed a stronger performance with the Dow Jones rising 0.6% to 25,717 at around 5pm UK time.

Brent crude oil was up 0.8% at $67.22 per barrel.

LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Supermarket chain Morrisons was up only 0.6% despite posting an 8.6% rise in adjusted profit and declaring another special dividend, as its turnaround plan continued to gain traction.

Wealth manager Standard Life Aberdeen rose 2.4% as it booked a 19% improvement in annual profit, after lower revenue was more than offset by gains from an asset sale and cost cutting.

Dixons Carphone nudged 0.1% higher to 132.9p on revealing that it was fined £29.1m by UK authorities for its device insurance policies.

Petrofac won a contract worth around $1bn with Groupment Isarene for the Ain Tsila development project in Algeria, prompting the shares to rise 4.5% to 486.3p.

Shares in gambling group GVC fell 4.6% to 542p after Germany proposed restrictions on in-play sports betting.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals shed 4.3% to £15.84 despite swinging to an annual profit after warning of a potential fall in 2019 generics revenue due to 'continued price erosion.'

Takeover target Provident Financial surrendered earlier gains to trade 1.5% lower as it swung to an annual profit and resumed dividend payments, after a drop in bad loan charges offset a fall in revenue.

London Southend Airport owner Stobart Group gained 3.7% to 161p on announcing that it would cut its dividend as it put more cash aside to invest in its business.

Construction company Balfour Beatty was flat at 285.2p as it boosted annual profit on the back of improved margins.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Isle of Man telecom company Manx Telecom jumped 14.5% to 214.6p on news that it had agreed to be acquired by Basalt Infrastructure Partners for £255.9m.

Cybersecurity provider Avast fell 3.3% after it announced the departure of chief executive Vince Steckler, who would leave at the end of June. He would be replaced by consumer business head Ondrej Vlcek.

Recruitment firm Staffline announced its PeoplePlus division won contracts worth £35m from the European Social Fund. Shares in Staffline fell 2.3% to 840p.

Partners on an Alaskan oil, well which ultimately proved disappointing, fell heavily. Pantheon Resources dived 25.5% to 21p, 88 Energy fell 37.3% to 0.8p and Red Emperor plunged 85.2% to 0.7p.


Story provided by StockMarketWire.com


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