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Market Wrap - Market Open

FTSE sideways prior to UK Q1 GDP data

25 May 2017 08:56

FTSE blue chips and mid caps are trading sideways in early deals, with a mildly positive bias as a string of ex-dividend equities limited gains, as traders await UK's Q1 second-estimate GDP growth.

A short time after the open, the FTSE 100 was up 0.37 points, or 0.0%, to 7515.27, and the FTSE 250 was up 21.35, or 0.11%, to 19,971.90.

In Europe, the Dax and Cac 40 were both ahead, following on from Wall St gains after the US FOMC minutes for May revealed with some qualification that it saw a further raising of interest rates as appropriate "soon". The market has been pricing in a June rise.

Crude oil prices were ahead on hope Opec's summit beginning today will produce an output curb extension, while separately gold, silver and copper prices were making headway.

In London, financials were doing well with Aviva (AV.) up 1.08% to 535.75p and leading a posse of others. Lloyds Banking (LLOY) rose 0.85% to 73.19p, with Standard Life (SL.) adding 0.81% to 387.4p. Several other insurers and banks were notable among the top-50 blue-chip risers.

Supermarkets were up after Tesco (TSCO), which added 0.64% to 185.13p, and consumer goods giants Reckitt Benckiser (RB.) and Unilever (ULVR) also improved. Multi-commodity miners were off the pace, but led up by Glencore (GLEN), ahead 0.41% to 292.95p.

A number of utilities also made gains, but United Utilities (UU.) fell 0.43% to 1051.5p after posted an improved FY pretax profit of £442.4m, up from £353.5m. Total dividend for the year was 38.87p a share, up 1.1% from 38.45p, and in line with policy.

The biggest blue-chip fallers were BT Group (BT.A), down 1.8% to 311.15p, Mediclinic (MDC), down 1.38% to 801.75p, and Hikma (HIK), down 1.14% to 1652p.

Several ex-dividend stocks also sortied south. Among these were Morrisons (MRW), Bunzl (BNZL), Carnival (CCL), Whitbread (WTB) and Worldpay (WPG).


European Wealth Group (EWG) fell 23.33% to 34.5p on saying it was in advanced talks about a re-financing package that would re-structure its balance sheet, enabling the repayment of the £4.2m of quoted convertible loan stock issued by the Company in 2014 and due for redemption on June 9, and all other debts, accrued interest and deferred consideration.

Modern Water (MWG), down 21.99% to 13.75p, intends to conduct a placing of up to 15.9m new shares at 11p each to raise gross proceeds of up to £1.749m. Net proceeds would go to accelerating the execution of the group's strategy through the provision of further funding for various ongoing organic growth projects.

Arian Silver (AGQ), down 21.88% to 0.63p, has raised £600,000 in a placing of 120m units of 0.5p each. Net proceeds would be used to advance exploration of its mining concessions in Zacatecas, and to seek and assess the feasibility of additional lithium acquisitions.


Minds + Machines (MMX) rose 17.11% to 11.12p after stating that, after several informal approaches from external parties, US investment banking firm Headwaters MB had been appointed to review the various strategic options open to the company to maximise value for shareholders.

Leeds Group (LDSG) fell 16.25% to 33.56p after warning that FY group pretax profit was expected to be lower than what was reported last year.

Petrofac (PFC) fell 15.65% to 518.75p after confirming it had suspended COO Marwan Chedid, and that he had resigned form the board. Earlier in May, UK authorities said they were conducting a probe into the company on suspicion of bribery, corruption and money laundering.

Huntsworth (HNT) added 12.66% to 56.75p as it said its FY results would be ahead of current consensus, with the group having traded well through the first four months of the year.

Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT), down 7.05& to 699p, has reported a first half performance boradly in line with expectations. Adjusted profit before tax of £105m, down 8% on a pro forma basis. Its FY outlook was largely unchanged and its strategy was on track.

Proxama (PROX), up 4.65% to 0.23p, has announced four revenue-generating contracts for its Proximity Marketing and Data Division. Halfords (HFD), up 1.42% to 363.9p, said its FY pretax profits fell 7.5% to £75.4m. Revenues were up 7.2% at £1,095.0m - an increased of 2.7% on a like-for-like basis.

Tate & Lyle (TATE), down 2.56% to 769.75p, has hiked its FY pretax profit and revenue, at the same time holding its dividend for the period steady and issuing a confident outlook. Pretax profit was £233m, up from £126m. Sales was £2.75bn, up from £2.36bn. Dividend was 28p a share, unchanged.

Pets at Home (PETS), down 2.09% to 157.25p, has improved its FY pretax profit to £95.4m, up 5.8% on the 52 weeks to March 24, 2016. Group revenue was £834.2m, up 7.2%, with group like-for-like revenue growth coming in at 1.5%.

Other stocks in the news included Card Factory (CARD), Inchcape (INCH), Van Elle Holdings (VANL), Savannah Resources (SAV), Unite Group (UTG), Shawbrook (SHAW), CloudBuy (CBUY), Belvoir Lettings (BLV), NAHL Group (NAH), Caledonia Investments (CLDN) and Origin Enterprises (OGN) and TP Group (TPG).

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