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10 May 2019 | 12:03

FTSE holds on to gains after UK GDP figures

The FTSE 100 was steady at midday, up 0.5% to 7,242.69 after figures revealed UK growth rebounded in the first quarter.

GDP was up 0.5%, in line with forecasts, and up from 0.2% in the final quarter of 2018. However, observers pointed out the number was boosted by stockpiling ahead of Brexit.

Lingering hopes that a full-blown trade war between the US and China can be averted, despite increased tariffs on Chinese goods which come into force today in the US, helped supported global stocks with US futures pointing to a higher open on Wall Street later.

UK property investors British Land and Land Securities are down 3.1% and 1.3% respectively on downgrades from Barclays Capital


British Airways-owner International Consolidated Airlines said first-quarter profit more than halved as passenger unit revenue slid amid a rise in fuel prices, Air Traffic Control disruption and foreign exchange headwinds.

The company also forecast flat passenger unit revenue for the year, that was downgraded from guidance in February for an improvement in passenger unit revenue. However, investors marked the shares 3% higher as the result was seen as creditable in light of the challenges facing the industry.

Hotels operator Millennium & Copthorne reported profit down 57.7% to £11m in the first quarter.

The company also saw revenue dip 4% at constant currency and revenue per available room, a key industry metric, drop 0.9%.

The weak performance was attributed to refurbishment affecting major hotels in two of the group's key gateway cities - London and Singapore. The shares ticked up 1.8%, paring the losses seen early on.

Stockbroker Brewin Dolphin fell 4.7% as it reported an 8.2% fall in first-half profit as volatile markets kept a lid on investment performance. The company also announced the €44m acquisition of Investec's Irish wealth management business, funded by a £60m placing at 305p.

Mining firm Tharisa dropped 5.8% as it flagged a 60% drop in earnings per share for the six months to 31 March 2019 driven by increased costs, lower volumes and weaker metals prices.

Aviation services firm BBA Aviation gained 2.1% as it reaffirmed its full-year guidance as revenues grew by more than a fifth in the first four months of the year, underpinned by acquisitions. For the period 1 January to 30 April 2019, revenue rose 23.1%, bolstered by organic growth along with the acquisitions of EPIC, Firstmark and Ontic licences acquired during 2018, the company said.


'Smarter' plastics specialist Symphony Environmental Technologies soared 58.6% as it reported the European Commission had instructed the European Chemicals Agency to close oxo-degradable plastics restriction process.

This commenced in December 2017 because the Commission thought the plastics created harmful microplastics and could have covered Symphony's d2w plastics solution.

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