Estate agents hammered on letting fees speculation

The FTSE 100 rallied 0.3% to 6,840 after from a positive session on Wall Street overnight and ahead of the Autumn Statement today.

British American Tobacco (BATS) helped to bolster the blue chip index with a 0.7% gain.

Property agents Countrywide (CWD), Foxtons (FOXT) and LSL Property Services (LSL) suffered declines of up to 8% amid speculation that Chancellor Philip Hammond will crack down on letting fees.

Lettings specialist Belvoir Lettings (BLV) also suffered a fall of 6% to 117p.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil nudged higher to $48.18 and Brent crude oil advanced 0.3% to $49.28 per barrel, respectively.

Gold gained 0.2% to $1,213 per ounce, while copper cheapened 0.4% to $5,577 per tonne.


Utility provider United Utilities (UU.) nudged 2.8% higher to 921p on a slight year-on-year increase in first half operating profit to £312.5m and a 1.1% hike in the dividend.

Property investor Hammerson (HMSO) was flat at 554.5p following a €587m deal to buy four outlet centres in Europe under its VIA Outlets joint venture.


Travel operator Thomas Cook (TCG) flied into sunnier skies after announcing its first dividend in five years alongside full year results and ‘encouraging’ summer bookings for 2017. Profit after tax more than halved year-on-year to £9m, reflecting pressure from terrorist attacks, but this was in line with guidance.

The first set of results from respiratory drug specialist Vectura (VEC) since its merger with Skyepharma received a positive response. First half revenue was up 183% to £73.9m.

Online trading platform CMC Markets (CMCX) slumped 4.3% to 194.3p on a 29% fall in first half pre-tax profit to £18.8m due to lower client activity.


Shares in industrial services firm Brammer (BRAM) shot up 69.3% to 165p on a recommended £221.5m cash offer from AI Robin, a wholly-owned subsidiary of funds managed by Advent International.

Software outfit ServicePower (SVR) soared 71.2% to 4.5p after last night’s revelation it would reject an offer from Jonas Computing and was in discussions with Diversis Capital over a 6p cash bid.

Financial services group Tavistock Investments (TAVI) raised up to £2.1m through a shares placing to meet the cash consideration for the acquisition of Price Bailey Financial Services.

Avocet Mining (AVM) delivered bad news to investors as it indicated the verdict from the court concerning whether gold should be released was delayed until 19 December. The initial seizure of the gold was lifted on 7 November, but the gold has yet to be released.

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