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Market Wrap - Midday

Pharma and airline stocks boost FTSE

15 August 2017 11:51

A strong performance from pharma firms and airlines helped the FTSE 100 gain momentum on a quiet day for corporate news.

Shares in rare diseases specialist Shire (SHP) were lifted 1.8% and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) rose 1%.

Among the airlines, easyJet (EZJ) and British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) were the biggest winners, up 1.2% and 1% respectively.

The blue-chip index rallied 0.5% to 7,388.

Brent crude oil slipped 0.4% to $50.50 per barrel. Gold fell 0.7% to $1,274 per ounce and copper retreated 0.3% to $6,393 per tonne.

ECONOMIC NEWS

In the UK, inflation was unchanged in July at 2.6% as the price of fuel continued to fall, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Average house prices in England increased by 5.2% in the year to June 2017, down from a 5.3% rise in the year to May.

OVERSEAS NEWS

The US continued to recover from last week's sell-off after geopolitical tension between the US and North Korea. Overnight, the S&P 500 closed 1% lower at 2,465.

In Asia, investors were also relieved, helping Japan's Nikkei 225 rally 1.1% to 19,753, although Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.3% this morning to 27,174.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

John Menzies (MNZS) was up 1.9% to 726.5p on underlying pre-tax profit increasing by 36% to £24.7m in the first half of 2017.

One of the biggest small cap fallers was social care provider Mears (MER). The firm said the tragic events at Grenfell Tower will impact the housing division as clients review commissioning and safety practices at their properties.

The stock slumped 7.7% to 447.3p after Mears warned that housing revenues will be £30m lower than expected this year, resulting in a loss of profit and lower overhead recovery.

Pawnbroker H&T Group (HAT) enjoyed a strong start to the year with a 62.2% increase in pre-tax profits to £6m, which was driven by a sales boost in all key segments. Shares in the firm accelerated 9.3% to 293p.

Marshall Motor (MMH) grew its underlying profit before tax by 32.9% to £18.6m in the first half of the year, helping shares in the automotive retailer accelerate 5.6% to 150p.

Casino games operator Jackpotjoy (JPJ) was up 2.8% to 685p following a 13% rise in first half revenue to £146.6m.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

Related Company: MNZS

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