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FTSE flat as weak miners and utilities threaten to offset gains in oil majors

Thursday, 23rd August 2018
The FTSE 100 struggled for direction with miners and utility stocks threatening to drag the index into the red despite gains for oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell.

Around midday, the FTSE 100 was only 3.2 points higher at 7,577.

Fresnillo shed 1.4% to 933.8p and Anglo American retreated 1.5% to £15.52.

British Gas owner Centrica dimmed 0.5% to 142.9p and Severn Trent fell 0.9% to £19.68.

Brent crude oil dipped 0.3% to $74.53 per barrel.

MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Gambling firm Playtech continued to struggle with fierce competition from Chinese rivals with aggressive prices, dragging on earnings in the first half of 2018. Shares in Playtech rose 5.4% to 545.2p on in-line half year results, a maintained dividend and a potential softening in pricing later this year.

Budget airline Ryanair flew 7.1% higher to €14.07 following a breakthrough deal with trade union Forsa to settle a dispute with Irish pilots.

Infrastructure company John Laing benefitted from growing pre-tax profit and net asset value thanks to the sales of its remaining stake in the Intercity Express Programme. The stock rallied 8.4% to 318p.

Investors were concerned about increasing competition potentially hitting OneSavings Bank, overshadowing a 17% rise in first half pre-tax profit and dragging the stock 1.5% lower to 436.4p.

Building products specialist CRH was broadly unmoved at £25.97 despite managing to grow first half profits despite severe weather in the first three months of 2018.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Packaging products distributor Macfarlane revealed a strong set of first half results and an upbeat outlook, causing the shares to advance 3.9% to 106p.

Investors tucked into The Real Greek owner Fulham Shore following a jump in sales growth at the Greek restaurant chain and Franco Manco in the first 21 weeks of its financial year. The stock fattened 10% to 12.4p.

Software group Sopheon continued to deliver a good performance with increasing pre-tax profit growth, sparking share price gains of 8.4% to £10.19.

Shares in telecom services provider Toople catapulted 25% to 0.25p on a new contract with a reseller to offer broadband and telephony service for two of its high street retail customers.


Story provided by StockMarketWire.com


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