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Market Wrap - Market Open

FTSE sideways amid multiple ex-divs as sterling dips

30 March 2017 09:04

London shares were essentially sideways with a mildly positive lean in early deals, with a softer sterling-dollar rate helping indices to overcome the ballast of a relatively lengthy ex-dividend list.

Soon after the open, the FTSE 100 was up 6.51 points, or 0.09%, to 7380.23, while the FTSE 250 was up 10.84, or 0.06%, to 18,989.5. At the same time, Germany's Dax and France's Cac 40 made minor gains, too. Sterling was mildly lower on the dollar, as gold, silver and copper slipped.

So far, amid this overall calm, it was less than 24 hours since PM Theresa May formally opened Brexit negotiations with the EU, suggesting much of the shock had already been priced into the market.

The top-five blue-chip risers were an eclectic bunch. Morrisons (MRW) led with a 2.04% rise to 242.05p, with Ashtead (AHT) up 1.98% to 1670.5p, London Stock Exchange (LSE) up 1.11% to 3140.5p, WPP (WPP) up 1.08% to 1733.5p and Pearson (PSON) up 0.98% to 667.5p.

Oil titans Shell (RDSA), up 0.53% to 2141.25p, and BP (BP.), up 0.63% to 464.1p, rose as the price of WTI and Brent crude grades nudged higher. Several pharmas traced Glaxosmithkline (GSK), up 0.64% to 1689.25p, but others fell. Also up were house builders, with banks mixed.

Miners were mixed, too, with their share-price moves mostly muted. Ex-div insurers were prominent among the fallers with Old Mutual (OML), down 1.66% to 215.95p, and Prudential (PRU), down 1.65% to 1679.75p, among them. Commercial property was prominent among fallers.

In the news, SSE (SSE), down 1.98% to 1458.5p and guiding blue-chip losers, said for the FY 2016-17 it expected to deliver adjusted EPS of 122p-125p, versus a target of at least 120p, after a 12-month period that provided a number of complex issues to manage.

Imperial Brands (IMB), up 0.63% to 3849.75p, confirmed it anticipated meeting its earnings expectations for H1, both constant currency and reported exchange rates. The group said its FY guidance was unchanged.

ConvaTec (CTEC), up 0.15% to 273.40p, has announced an expansion of its manufacturing technology platform for the insulin pump therapy business at Medtronic.

Among stocks going ex-dividend today were British Land (BLND), Abbey (ABBY), Finsbury Food (FIF), Kier (KIE), Miton (MGR), Schroders (SDR), Wynnstay (WYN), and a good number more.


Ncondezi Energy (NCCL) fell 39.06% to 4.88p as it issued an update on the 300MW power plant project in northern Mozambique and the joint-development agreement with Shanghai Electic Power Co Ltd. It said it was in lending and funding talks, and had adequate cash resources to fund its activities to May 10.

Mayan Energy (MYN) fell 34.38% to 0.01p after raising £600,000 gross via a subscription of 12bn new shares at 0.005p each. Proceeds would be used to fund ongoing working capital and Shoats Creek Field development.

Spectra Systems (SPSY) rose 22.76% to 44.5p after posting a FY profit of $1.14m, up from $35,000, in a set of results that it said highlights the company's sustainable profitability and continued earnings growth. Its inaugural annual dividend was $0.05 a share.

Carr's (CARR), down 22.26% to 117p, warned it expected its performance for the current FY to be significantly below the board's existing forecasts.


Feedback (FDBK) rose 12.07% to 1.62p on cofirming subsidiary Cambridge Computed Imaging Ltd had signed a Letter of Intent with a leading global medical imaging company that would make TexRAD Lung available for purchase on its diagnostic imaging solutions platform.

SRT Marine Systems (SRT), up 8.59% to 34.75p, has entered into a contract to deliver a national MDM system for a Middle East country.

Serabi Gold (SRB), up 7.89% to 5.13p, has more than trebled its FY pretax profit to $1.9m, from $476,294, in what was an excellent year for the company and despite the impact of a 20% strengthening of Brazil's real.

Genel Energy (GENL), up 8.81% to 63.38p, said its FY operating losses rose to $1.22bn, up from $1.1bn last time. Revenues fell to $53.3bn, from $84.9bn. The group booked an impairment of exploration assets of $779.0m, up from $144.1m in 2015. Net production averaged 53,300 bopd, at the lower end of revised guidance.

Sigma Capital (SGM), up 3.85% to 67.5p, was progressing plans for the possible launch and flotation of an independent real estate investment trust (REIT), in line with its stated intention in its half yearly report.

RPC Group (RPC), down 1.25% to 868p, said revenues for FY 2017 were anticipated to be significantly ahead of last year, reflecting contributions from acquisitions and continued underlying organic growth.

Petra Diamonds (PDL), up 1.82% to 126.05p, has announced the launch of a $600m notes issue and restructuring of its debt facilities. Polypipe (PLP), up 1.88% to 359.95p, has improved its FY pretax profit to £54.4m, up 31.1% from £41.5m, in what it penned as a record performance.

DFS Furniture (DFS), up 1.74% to 256.63p, has declared a special dividend following record results. Revenue rose 6.8% to £379.9m in the 26 weeks to Jan. 30. EBITDA rose 4.5% to £32.4m and profit before tax was up 3.1% at £16.7m.

Booker (BOK), down 0.05% to 199p, reported a good Q4 with non-tobacco sales up 4.5% and non-tobacco like-for-likes up 4.7%. Group tobacco sales fell 7.9% with tobacco LFL down 7.5%. It noted it was presently going through the competition process regarding its planned Tesco merger.

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