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Market Wrap - Close

FTSE flat as utility firms fall

30 March 2017 17:01

Weakness in utility companies SSE (SSE) and National Grid (NG.) caused the blue-chip index to remain subdued at 7,369.

Management at SSE warned of additional challenges in the new financial year, but committed to delivering annual dividend growth.

The market focused on the potential for bad news, pushing the stock 1.5% lower to £14.65.

West Texas Intermediate rallied 1.6% to $50.33 and Brent crude oil advanced 1% to $53 per barrel, respectively.

Gold fell 0.4% to $1,248 per ounce and copper climbed 1.4% to $5,974 per tonne.


On Wall Street stocks were showing renewed strength, while in Asia, the biggest loser was Shanghai's SSE Composite, which slumped 1% on Thursday.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong and Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.4% and 0.8% respectively.


Multinational tobacco seller Imperial Brands (IMB) confirmed it anticipated meeting its earnings expectations for the first half of the year in both constant currency and reported exchange rates. The stock nudged 0.4% to £38.41.


Plastics packaging supplier RPC (RPC) revealed revenues for full year 2017 were anticipated to be significantly ahead of last year, reflecting contributions from acquisitions and continued underlying organic growth. Shares in the company declined 7.7% to 810.7p.

Bookie William Hill (WMH) was marked 0.6p lower to 287.2p on the appointment of Worldpay (WPG) executive Ruth Prior as chief financial officer.

Electrical retailer AO World (AO.) completed a £50m placing with institutional investors. Management said the funds will underpin AO World's European growth ambitions, albeit with dilution for existing shareholders. A pre-close trading statement had a cautious outlook for the UK, where necessary price hikes due to weak sterling could crimp demand.

Miner Petra Diamonds (PDL) announced the launch of a $600m notes issue and restructuring of its debt facilities, sparking a 9% rise to 134.8p.

The UK's largest plastic pipe systems manufacturer Polypipe (PLP) improved its full year pre-tax profit to £54.4m, up 31.1% from £41.5m, in what it penned as a record performance.


Shares in sofa seller DFS (DFS) were flat at 254.9p despite declaring a special dividend following record results. Revenue was also up 6.8% to £379.9m in the 26 weeks to 30 January.

Ncondezi Energy (NCCL) crashed 47.8% to 4.1p as it issued an update on its 300MW power plant project in northern Mozambique and the joint-development agreement with Shanghai Electric Power Company. It said it was in lending and funding talks, and had adequate cash resources to fund its activities to 10 May.

Intelligent Energy (IEH) said it took longer for the firm to deploy standardised products than expected and expected sales to scale more rapidly. This didn't stop investor getting jittery as the stock plummeted 23.5% to 6.5p.

Spectra Systems (SPSY) unveiled a full year profit of $1.14m, up from $35,000, in a set of results that highlighted its profitability and continued earnings growth. Investors were excited as the stock jumped 18.6% to 43p.

Animal feed manufacturer Carr's (CARR) warned it expected its performance for the current full year to be significantly below forecasts, causing investors to run for the exit. As a result, the shares were dragged 17.6% lower to 124p.

Medical imaging firm Feedback (FDBK) rose 38% to 2p after confirming subsidiary Cambridge Computed Imaging signed a letter of intent with a leading global medical imaging company. This would make TexRAD Lung available for purchase on its diagnostic imaging solutions platform.

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