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Market Wrap - Midday

FTSE flat as May signs letter to trigger Brexit negotiations

29 March 2017 11:56

The FTSE initially rallied as UK Prime Minister Theresa May prepared to trigger Article 50 to start the UK's negotiations to leave the European Union.

However, weakness in miners and utilities subsequently knocked the blue-chip index back a little at 7,330.

West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude oil slipped 0.4% higher to $48.57 and $51.57 per barrel. respectively.

Gold and copper were flat at $1,255 per ounce and $5,886 per tonne.


In the US, consumer confidence reached a 16-year high, resulting in stronger financials and a rally in energy stocks. Both the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 rose 0.7% on Tuesday.

Asian stocks were mostly flat, with Shanghai's SSE Composite nudging 0.3% lower on Wednesday.


EU regulators blocked the London Stock Exchange's (LSE) £21bn merger with Deutsche Boerse, the German stock exchange, causing shares in the former to jump 3.4%.


Publisher of i newspaper Johnston Press (JPR) suffered a share price drop of 11.3% as its results revealed a 6% decline in revenues. Its operating profit tumbled by 14.5% due to a hit on its print advertising revenues, which were down by almost 9%.

Shares in Centaur Media (CAU) fell by 12.2% to 40.5p on disappointing results. Operating profits declined by £1.4m to £9.1m, while the firm's revenues rose 3% to £72.5m. Centaur blamed the fall in advertising revenues and said it will result in a 2017 profit reduction, although hopes to reverse that in 2018.

Courier DX Group's (DX.) announced a major new contract win worth over £10m a year. Management said it is going to provide services to one of the UK's most iconic beauty brands Avon. The stock rallied 10% on the good news.

AIM-listed Circle Holdings (CIRC) received a 30p a share takeover offer from private company DMWSL 849. The offer excited shareholders as the shares gained 21.9% to 29.2p.

Tech solutions provider China New Energy (CNEL) sparked 29.8% on several contract wins with Supercare Group of Ghana and CNBM General Machinery to construct a new ethanol plant in Ghana.

Sabien Technology (SNT) crashed 54.5% to 1.3p after placing 47.5 million shares with its investors in a bid to fund 40 new energy efficiency tech M2G projects for its clients this year. The shares were placed at a price of 1p which is a significant discount to its closing price yesterday of 3p. Chief executive officer Alan O'Brien said he was confident this move should prompt 'material orders' of the product going forward.

Regional airline Flybe's (FLYB) reported its fourth quarter of 2016 was characterised by weak demand in an uncertain consumer market and tough price competition from rival airlines. Due to these market conditions, management said it expects to report a small loss for year to 31 March 2017.

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