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14 Feb 2020 | 17:36

FTSE falls at the close but mid caps stage domestics rally

UK markets endured a mixed close to the trading week with the FTSE 100 failing to hold on to mid-Friday gains.

An unwelcome warning of downward pressure on Royal Bank of Scotland's income and another jump in coronavirus cases did little to lift the market's mood.

At the close, the benchmark FTSE 100 index had slumped almost 0.6% into the red at 7,409.13, but it was an altogether different story for the mid caps as UK domestic stocks rallied.

The FTSE 250 index jumped more than 0.5% to end the week at 21,790.08.

NEW NAME, SAME CHALLENGES

Royal Bank of Scotland headed the FTSE 100 loser board on Friday, slumping close on 7% to 213.1p despite almost doubling annual profit and declaring a special dividend.

But the bank, which said it would change its name to NatWest and has just welcomed new chief executive Alison Rose, also warned a challenging market environment would weigh on income generation and said it would incur additional costs downsizing its investment bank.

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca ended in a rut, losing more than 4% at £73 despite posting a 22% fall in annual profit as rising revenue was offset by an increase in selling and other administrative costs.

Heading the blue-chip leader board was media business Informa, rallying more than 2.6% to 778.2p, narrowly outstripping the 2.3% rise of real estate firm Land Securities, up to 995.8p.

Warehouse property investor Segro inched 1.5% higher to 935p despite booking an 18% fall in annual profit.

Segro's underlying performance, however, improved on the back of higher rental income and it hiked its dividend 10%.

Water utility Pennon advanced 2.8% to £11.735 as it accepted a UK regulatory ruling for its South West Water unit that included a total expenses allowance of around £2bn.

Pennon also noted that its current dividend policy expired in 2020 and said it planned announce a new policy by its full-year results announcement, scheduled for 4 June.

PROFITS UNRAVEL

Industrial fastenings manufacturer Trifast recovered some of its earlier losses but stayed nearly 2% in the red at 170p after it warned its annual underlying profit would be at the lower end of analysts' forecasts.

Trifast also said that it was continuing to monitor the coronavirus impact on its business.

The ongoing disease outbreak was having a more favourable impact on Aviation services provider Air Partner.

Its shares rose 3% to 72.8p after it confirmed that it had assisted with the evacuation of more than 300 British and EU nationals from Wuhan.

Molecular diagnostics group Yourgene Health nudged 1.7% higher to 15p after it chemotoxicity diagnostics assay was approved for sale in Australia.

Construction materials provider Brickability stayed flat at 74p, having completed the acquisition of roofing products importer McCann Roofing Products for £2.8m.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com
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