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Market Wrap - Close

Stocks stabilise as investors seek safe havens

09 August 2017 16:37

A steady open on Wall Street helped the FTSE 100 recover a little from its lows after the war of words between the US and North Korea. At close the index was down at 0.6% at 7,498.06.

Precious metals mining stocks Fresnillo (FRES) and Randgold Resources (RRS) continued to top the FTSE 100 leaderboard as investors reacted to the escalation by buying into traditional safe havens like gold.


The S&P 500 opened down just a handful of points despite the geo-political tensions.

The aggressive tone from the North Korean regime and the Trump administration in Washington had earlier spooked Asian investors with Japan's Nikkei down 1.3%.


Security group G4S (GFS) slipped 6.6% to 308.7p despite reporting an increase in first half revenues and earnings. Growth slowed in the second quarter but G4S expects to meet its full year targets. The group is also making progress with its restructuring plans while continuing to invest in strengthening its sales operations and new products and services.

Life insurance company Legal & General (LGEN) fell 1.4% to 272.2p as investors focused on a weak contribution from its UK business to first half results. Sector peer Prudential was down 2.2% to £18.45.


FTSE 250 engineer Spirax-Sarco (SPX) sparked up 4% to £57.95 on stellar first half results and a positive outlook statement. The valves, pumps and control systems supplier's adjusted profit before tax powered 30% higher to £99.2m in the six months to June, reflecting strong organic growth, currency benefits and a boost from recent acquisitions.

Bookmaker Ladbrokes Coral (LCL) fell 5.5% to 121.2p after private equity holders Apollo, Cerberus and Anchorage together sell more £111m worth of stock at 123.5p per share.


Furniture seller ScS (SCS) cheapened 0.3% to 158.5p on news of a 5% drop in like-for-like orders in the second half of the year due to softer market conditions and against demanding prior comparatives. With consumers now deferring spend on big ticket items, ScS' like-for-like order intake for the year to 29 July fell 0.7%, although CEO David Knight stressed impressive two year like-for-like order intake growth of 14.3%.

Also on the back foot was support services and construction group Interserve (IRV), marked down 1.5% to 221.8p on first half figures showing a lurch into losses amid difficult market conditions, rising costs and political changes.

Gulf Marine Services (GMS) gained 3% at 41.75p after amending its banking covenants on more favourable terms, a move CEO Duncan Anderson said gives the self-propelled self-elevating support vessels provider with 'with the operational and financial flexibility to focus on executing our strategic plan and delivering significant efficiencies for our clients'.

Investors had a thirst for Stock Spirits (STCK), the Central and Eastern European branded spirits producer bid up 7.4% to 170p. Half year results revealed progress with the turnaround of the business, sales, profits and the dividend all on the up, 'hard cost savings' delivered and importantly, CEO Mirek Stachowicz reported volume and value market share gains in core market Poland.

Self-storage group Lok'nStore (LOK:AIM) improved 2.3% to 393p after confirming strong trading in the second half of the year, taking full year like-for-like sales up 5.5%, driven by increased occupancy and prices.

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