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FTSE 100 flat as weak miners offset strong financials

23 May 2017 17:00

The blue chip index was static at 7,494 as weakness among commodity producers such as Glencore (GLEN) and BHP Billiton (BLT) was offset by stronger financial stocks.

Among the biggest risers, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) advanced 1.2% to 264.9p as a court case was adjourned for a second day. The bank is trying to settle a £520m claim brought by investors who claim they were misled in 2008 regarding a £12bn fundraise.

Brent crude oil was up 0.2% to $54 per barrel. Gold retreated to $1,258 per ounce and copper fell 0.2% to $5,688 per tonne.


Water company Severn Trent (SVT) nudged 1.7% up to £24.91 after reporting a rise in pre-tax profit from £302.9m to £336.1m.


US equities nudged higher ahead of US president Donald Trump's forthcoming budget, to be released today, which plans to cut government spending and reduce the deficit.

The S&P 500 traded 0.2% higher in mid-morning trade in the US at 2,398.90.


Frankie & Benny's owner Restaurant Group (RTN) tumbled 7% to 312.9p as investment bank UBS downgraded it to 'sell'. The latter was concerned about the restaurateur's challenging turnaround and whether price cuts would be effective.

Emergency services provider Homeserve (HSV) was the best performing mid-cap as it benefitted from strong momentum. Management reported a record performance in North America in the year to the end of March and a 20% rise in operating profit to £104.7m. Shares in the firm rallied 12% to 786.4p.

Healthcare packaging business UDG Healthcare (UDG) boosted its full-year earnings per share guidance from 13% to 16%. This excited investors as the stock jumped 4.9% to 803.5p.

Elsewhere in the healthcare sector, Syncona (SYNC) reported its portfolio company Blue Earth Diagnostics received approval of its product Axumin by the European Commission. The stock received a welcome boost of 4.6% to 160p.

Sandwiches and salads seller Greencore's (GNC) half year results pleased the market with the rapid growth of its UK food-to-go business and reiteration of full year earnings guidance, triggering an 7.2% rise to 243.8p.

AVEVA (AVV) disappointed the market after it saying it was uncertain when the oil and gas market would recover, prompting a 3.4% drop in the stock to £19.73.


1Spatial (SPA) was the top small cap faller as its operating losses significantly widened from £0.7m to £15.5m in the year to 31 January. The losses stacked up as the company discontinued or sold several of its operations, causing the stock to fall 15% to 3.08p.

Regal Petroleum (RPT) gained 23% to 3.8p thanks to initial testing at its MEX-109 well, which revealed production of 85,000 cubic meters per day of gas. The company said it planned to hook the well up to the gas processing facility to start production testing.

Software firm EG Solutions (EGS) was marked 9.4% higher to 71.6p as it continued to grab market share through its direct sales strategy, as well as distribution using in-house resources and global partners.

Sausages supplier Cranswick (CWK) performed better than expected with pre-tax profit up by more than 17% to £75.5m despite short-term pressures from a sharp rise in prices for UK pigs. It also hiked its total dividend by 17.6% to 44.1p. The shares advanced 4% to £29.38.

Retailer Topps Tiles (TPT) fell 6.5% to 96.2p as it warned that full year pre-tax profit was likely to be at the lower end of expectations due to challenging trading conditions.

Andalas Energy & Power (ADL) raised £600,000 through a shares placing. The firm reported that talks were ongoing with potential partners to co-develop and fund the roll-out of Andalas' pipeline of projects.

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Related Company: RBS

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