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19 Mar 2019 | 12:06

FTSE firms after strong UK jobs figures

The FTSE 100 was up 0.55% by midday at 7,339.01 following a report showing UK employment at its highest level since 1971.

US stock futures are pointing to a higher open on Wall Street later as investors eye the US Federal Reserve's latest decision on interest rates, due on Wednesday.

LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Online grocery retailer Ocado rose 3.8%, despite confirming that a fire at its Andover robotic warehouse in Hampshire last month had slowed revenue growth to 11.2% in its fiscal first quarter.

On a more positive note, Ocado said investigations indicated there were no significant implications for the risk profile of the assets, or the viability of its business model from the incident.

Online fashion retailer ASOS shed 9.4% to £29.14 as its sales growth slowed in the second quarter, partly due to it being unable to physically meet demand in the US.

Chile-focused miner Antofagasta gained 3.3%, despite posting a drop in annual earnings, after higher production helped it offset falling copper prices to post broadly flat revenue.

Fellow miner Ferrexpo fell 8.5% to 247.3p on revealing that it had pushed back the release of its full-year results, after a probe into its charitable donations identified further discrepancies.

Wealth manager Standard Life Aberdeen climbed 2.2% to 272p on announcing that an arbitral tribunal related to a dispute with Lloyds Banking Group had ruled in its favour.

IT infrastructure and services provider Softcat rallied 2% to 854p as it posted a 41% jump in first-half profit owing to customer wins. It also forecast a full-year result 'marginally ahead' of previous expectations.

Services company Wood Group slumped 8.4% after the company posted another annual loss, with rising revenue more than offset by one-off restructuring and writedown costs.

Water and climate management products supplier Polypipe Group dropped 8.9% as it posted a 4.7% rise in annual profit amid 'mixed market conditions'.

Intermediary trading group TP ICAP gained 6.9% to 324.6p, despite it booking a 69% drop in annual profit due to asset writedowns. The company's underlying operating profits rose 5% with the writedowns stripped out.

Construction outfit Kier rose 2.1% to 494.1p after it announced the appointment of former Wates head Andrew Davies as its new chief executive.

Furniture and flooring retailer ScS Group advanced 1.5% to 224.9p as it eked out a small first-half profit and said it expected the UK retail market to remain challenging.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Legal industry marketing group NAHL gained 12.4% to 100.5p as investors looked past a 21% drop in annual profit to focus on progress

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com
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