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.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

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.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

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.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

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.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

66% off newsstand price

12 issues (and much more) for just £12

That’s right. We’ll give you 12 issues of MoneyWeek magazine, complete access to our exclusive web articles, our latest wealth building reports and videos as well as our subscriber-only email… for just £12.

That’s just £1 per week for Britain’s best-selling financial magazine.

Click here to take advantage of our offer

Britain is leaving the European Union. Donald Trump is reducing America’s role in global markets. Both will have profound consequences for you as an investor.

MoneyWeek analyses the critical issues facing British investors on a weekly basis. And, unlike other publications, we provide you with the solutions to help you turn a situation to your financial advantage.

Take up our offer today, and we’ll send you three of our most important investment reports:

All three of these reports are yours when you take up our 12 issues for £12 offer today.

MoneyWeek has been advising private British investors on what to do with their money since 2000. Our calls over that period have enabled our readers to both make and save a great deal of money – hence our position as the UK’s most-trusted investment publication.

Click here to subscribe for just £12