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21 Feb 2019 | 12:14

FTSE struggles as negative corporate news weighs on sentiment

The FTSE 100 remained in the red as some negative corporate updates from the likes of British Gas owner Centrica and BAE Systems weighed on performance.

Among the biggest fallers were banking stocks and miners, leaving the FTSE 100 lower by 0.7% at 7,173 at around midday. US futures were pointing to a modestly higher open when Wall Street resumes trading later.

Brent crude oil was broadly unmoved at $67.16 per barrel. Gold was 0.7% lower at $1,333 per ounce.

MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS

Centrica warned its 2019 financial performance will be impacted by the UK default tariff cap and continuing lower volumes in E&P and nuclear. A warning on cash flow pressure also created jitters around the dividend, causing shares in the firm to fall 11.4%.

Just Eat fell 7.1% to 682p after rival Uber Eats cut the fees it charges to restaurants, prompting investor concerns over competition to re-emerge.

Financial services firm Standard Chartered was up 0.2% at 618.3p after revealing its fourth quarter results will include a provision of $900m for potential penalties. The penalties are linked previously disclosed investigations.

Defence giant BAE Systems said a German ban on arms exports to Saudi Arabia may hurt its financial performance, prompting a 6.4% fall to 471.8p.

High street bank Barclays rose 1.6% despite reporting flat pre-tax profits for the full year compared to a year earlier as rising ligation charges weighed on performance.

Recruitment group Hays reversed 5.1%, amid concerns over a German slowdown, despite first half pre-tax profits increasing 8%, driven by net fees growth in its international markets.

Miner Anglo American reported higher annual profits supported rising prices for platinum group metals, but this failed to lift the share price at £20.12.

Information provider RELX revealed a rise in sales and profitability and another share buyback for this year, pushing the stock 3.2% higher to £17.38.

Public services provider Serco hiked sales guidance for 2019 from a range of £2.8bn to £2.9bn to a range of £2.9bn to £3bn, reflecting recent contract wins. Shares in Serco rose 4.9% to 120.6p.

Go-Ahead Group raised its full year expectations following a better than expected first-half performance in its rail division, helping the stock accelerate 3.4% to £19.80.

Playtech rallied 8.9% after announcing its expects 2019 adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to be in the range of €390 to €415m, which was higher than analyst Shore Capital's forecasts.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Shares in Purplebricks plummeted 30.4% to 114.5p after warning on annual sales following slower than expected progress on its second US initiative. The board said revenue for the current financial year is expected to be between £130m and £140m, down from previous guidance of £165m £175m.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com
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