Share Prices & Company Research

Market News

15 Jan 2019 | 12:03

Markets nervy ahead of Brexit vote

Investor optimism created by news of a Chinese stimulus package was on the wane by lunchtime on the news that German GDP came in at a five-year low in 2018 and ahead of a likely defeat for Theresa May's Brexit plan in the House of Commons tonight.

By midday the FTSE 100 was just about holding on to gains, up 2.7 points at 6,857.72 while the more domestic facing FTSE 250 was broadly flat.

US futures suggested there may at least be a boost to sentiment in the form of a rebound on Wall Street when trading resumes later.


House builder Persimmon was flat at £22.29, paring earlier gains, after it said it expected its annual profit to be 'modestly' ahead of current market expectations, as higher home completions and selling prices boosted revenue.

Online retailer Boohoo reversed 9% to 177p, despite it upgrading its full-year sales guidance, as investors focused on a narrowing of its margin guidance.

Boohoo shares had also had a good run in the two weeks leading up to the sales update.

Sub-prime lender Provident Financial tumbled 17.8% to 531.6p on announcing that it expected its annual profits to come in at the lower end of expectations, amid a rise in sour loans.

Recruitment group Hays added 3.1% to 146p after revealing its second-quarter net fee income had been bolstered by growth in its international businesses.

Asset manager Ashmore softened 2.3% to 370p even as its second-quarter assets under management were buoyed by net inflows, offsetting a negative investment performance.

Real estate adviser Savills shed 2.8% to 743p, despite the company forecasting growth in both annual revenue and underlying profits following a 'robust' closing quarter.

Communications technology group Spirent Communications rallied 16.8% to 146.2p on announcing that it expected to exceed market expectations with an around 30% rise in annual operating profit.

Student accommodation specialist Watkin Jones gained 2.4% to 218p as it posted a rise in annual profits 'slightly ahead' of its previous expectations, driven by strong student accommodation sales.

Fantasy miniatures specialist Games Workshop gained 2.7% to £32.35 as it boosted its first-half profit by around 7%.


Housing and care sector support services provider Mears dropped 4.5% to 329.4p after it announced that trading in 2018 met its expectations in a 'competitive' environment.

A profit warning from independent hospital group Spire Healthcare saw the shares dive 12.9% to 101.6p, near an all-time low.

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