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Market Wrap - Midday

Inflation drags on UK economic growth as consumer spending slows

25 May 2017 11:50

Consumer stocks kept the FTSE resilient as shares as ice cream-to-margarine seller Unilever (ULVR) and cigarette manufacturer British American Tobacco (BATS) jumped by up to 1.5%.

UK economic growth slowed to 0.2% in the first quarter of 2017 as household spending declined thanks to rising prices. Unilever, in particular, passed on extra input costs to consumers in the form of higher selling prices.

On the commodities market, the price of Brent crude oil struggled ahead on OPEC's summit today, where a decision is expected on whether the oil producers' cartel will extend a production cut.

Brent crude oil fell 1.3% to $53.23 per barrel. Gold glittered at $1,258 per ounce and copper was flat at $5,688 per tonne.

OVERSEAS MARKETS

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 closed 0.2% higher last night following the US Federal Reserve's latest meeting where policymakers suggested an interest rate was coming soon.

In Asia on Thursday, the stock markets followed the US markets higher.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

Oil and gas firm Petrofac (PFC) plummeted by 27.6% to 445p following the suspension of its chief operating office Marwan Chedid. In May, UK authorities launched an investigation into the firm on suspicion of bribery, corruption and money laundering.

Hungarian budget airline Wizz Air (WIZZ) announced record annual profit of €246m in the year to March. The company was upbeat about hitting profit guidance of between €250m and €270m in the current financial year, helping the stock fly 10% up to €21.41.

Dog food seller-to-vet practices group Pets at Home (PETS) reported a 5.8% hike in full year pre-tax profit to £95.4m, causing the stock to rise 2.7% to 165p.

Food ingredients specialist Tate & Lyle (TATE) soured 2.2% to 772.5p despite boosting its pre-tax profit by a fifth to £271m in the year to 31 March.

Halfords (HFD) accelerated 2% higher to 366p as like-for-like sales improved and the company gained more market share in both motoring and cycling.

Foxy Bingo brand owner GVC (GVC) reported strong trading in its first quarter continued into the second. Investors were feeling lucky as they marked the shares 2.9% higher to 787p.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Construction firm Henry Boot (BOOT) anticipated that its full year performance would be 'comfortably ahead of expectations' thanks to a strong start to 2017. Shares in the firm advanced 5% to 294.2p.

Modern Water (MWG) planned to raise £1.7m through a placing of 15.9 million new shares, which would help it to execute its strategy by funding ongoing projects.

Minds + Machines (MMX) appointed investment bank Headwaters MB to review various strategic options to maximise shareholder value after receiving several informal approaches. Shares in the company gained 13.4% to 10.7p.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

Related Company: PFC

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