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PM Brexit speech hurts the pound but lifts the FTSE

22 September 2017 16:31

The FTSE 100 enjoyed a leg up in afternoon trading amid a fall in pound sterling, rising 0.6% to 7,306. The currency weakened on Theresa May's Brexit speech in Florence as she failed to provide enough detail.

A weaker pound is typically good for the large chunk of stocks on the FTSE 100 who generate earnings in foreign currencies, particularly the US dollar.

Education publishing group Pearson (PSON), metals miner Fresnillo (FRES) and pharmaceutical firm Shire (SHP) all enjoyed a boost on the stock market thanks to their foreign focus.

Other large caps stocks on the move upwards included AstraZeneca (AZN), up 3% to £49.10.

Chemicals giant Johnson Matthey (JMAT) continued to build on yesterday's strong rally as investors applauded its plans to charge into the electric car battery market. The shares rose a further 3% to £34.90.


Wall Street was quiet on Friday with the S&P 500 flat at 2,500 and the Dow Jones unmoved at 22,345.


With a focus on some of the UK-listed corporate news, engineer Smiths Group (SMIN) fell 5.6% to £15.21 following a decline in its oil and gas activities that were impacted by difficult conditions in the global energy markets.


Over 50s insurer Saga (SAGA) was flat at 196.6p despite consistent growth of 5.5% in underlying pre-tax profit, driven by 10.4% growth in the retail broking and travel businesses in the half year to 31 July.

It was good news from struggling Acacia Mining (ACA), pushing the share price 1.7% higher to 181.7p. The miner revealed positive results from its processing trial at Buzwagi, which was designed to maximise gold dore production from the mine. An export ban by the Tanzanian government on unprocessed ore earlier this year has dragged on Acacia's performance.

Ukrainian iron ore producer Ferrexpo (FXPO) fell 1.9% to 285.8p on news that its chief financial officer Chris Mawe had offloaded £262,868 worth of shares, sending a negative signal to the market.


Energy tech group Intelligent Energy (IEH) was among the small cap casualties after warning it faced an uncertain outlook due to the slower than expected development of the market. Shares in Intelligent Energy plummeted 68% to 2.5p. The company forecast that sales in the year to 30 September would be approximately £21m, down from £91.8m.

Oil and gas services provider Lamprell (LAM) reported that adverse market conditions hit total first half revenue, which fell $159.2m from $451.3m a year ago. The company blamed conditions in the new build jack-up rig sector and low levels of contract awards in 2016 and 2017. The stock fell 12.1% to 87.25p.

Chemicals business Iofina (IOF) beat iodine production expectations in the first half of 2017 and benefitted from a 2% boost in the spot price of iodine. Shares in the firm surged 15.9% to 13.47p.

Central Asia Metals (CAML) agreed to acquire Lynx Resources, the owner of the SASA zinc-lead mine in Macedonia, from Orion Co-Investments III and Fusion Capital for $402.5m. Its shares are suspended until acquisition documents are published next week.

The loss of a contract with Sainsbury's (SBRY) failed to derail marketing services group St Ives (SIV) because it said strength elsewhere in its business would keep earnings on track. Its shares nudged up 0.3% to 70.31p.

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