FTSE slips as ex-divs, Brexit sentiment weigh

FTSE indices opened lower in a session relatively rich with corporate news, but with sentiment undermined by ongoing Brexit jitters and littered with ex-dividend issues.

Soon after the open, FTSE 100 was down 12.68 points, or 0.18%, to 7009.24, while FTSE 250 was down 73.72, or 0.41%, to 17,966.8. Sixty-four blue chips were lower, 14 by 1% or more.

At 8.38am, WTI crude was down 1.03% to $51.07/bbl and Brent was down 0.93% to $52.18/bbl. Gold was 0.06% lower at $1269.2/oz.

House builders tapered behind Taylor Wimpey (TW.), off 1.13% to 148.8p, and Barratt (BDEV), off 0.59% to 490.6p. Several retailers and supermarkets eased, but other made gains.

WPP (WPP) led the losers’ list as it fell 2.45% to 1775.5p, with Travis Perkins (TPK) down 2.36% to 1388.5p in the wake of yesterday’s news of branch closures.

A number of insurers and pharmas were also lower. To the upside, the story was airlines and miners. IAG (IAG) added 2.62% to 403.4p and easyJet (EZJ) flew up 1.97% to 944.25p.

Among miners BHP Billiton (BLT) appreciated 0.96% to 1229.75p to lead, with oil majors also staking on gains. Several banks followed Barclays (BARC), ahead 1.14% to 179.43p.

Rio Tinto (RIO), up 1.05% to 2651p, has delivered strong third-quarter production, underpinned by improving operational performance across its Tier 1 portfolio.

Glencore (GLEN), down 0.15% to 238.43p, has agreed to sell its Glencore Rail coal haulage business for A$1.14bn.

BIGGER MOVERS

NCC Group (NCC), down 33.35% to 230.4p, said group revenues rose 36% in the first four months, from 48% year ago, with organic growth of 21%, versus 17% at the same time last year.

Keller (KLR), down 26.99% to 646.5p, expects its underlying FY results to be about 15% below current market estimates, mainly due to under-performance in APAC.

Lombard Risk Management (LRM), up 24.14% to 9p, reports record revenues of £15.2m for H1, up 41.2% on last time. EBITDA was £1.5m, from £0.5m.

ECONOMIC NEWS

The market is looking to European Central Bank’s latest interest rate call this afternoon, with a special focus on the working along with any reference to its stimulus measures.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Senior (SNR), down 19.98% to 163.4p, said that while directors anticipate some improvement in Q4 over Q3, the group’s FY performance is expected to be lower than previously anticipated.

Georgian Mining Corporation (GEO), up 19.44% to 10.75p, has intercepted additional significant near-surface copper and gold sulphide mineralisation at the Kvemo Bolnisi project in Georgia.

Weatherly International (WTI), down 16.67% to 0.25p, said following a strong performance in the March quarter, it is disappointed that it is unable to anticipate such high groundwater inflow rates at Tschudi.

GB Group (GBG), down 13.41% to 276.88p, expects to report H1 profits in line with expectations, with an adjusted operating profit of at least £5.0m, from £4.5m, up more than 11% on the year.

Hayward Tyler (HAYT), down 10.44% to 81.5p, remains confident it will meet market expectations of revenues of about £80 million for the FY.

Private & Commercial Finance (PCF), up 10.19% to 29.75p, says excellent levels of new business origination and performance of its portfolio are such that its expects final results to be slightly ahead of market expectations.

Redx (REDX), up 7.33% to 51.25p, has identified a drug development candidate for its reversible Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor programme. Stratex International (STI), up 5.56% to 1.9p, has entered into a service agreement with Goldstone Resources Ltd, in which it holds a 33.45% interest.

Quantum Pharma (QP.), up 6.31% to 35.88p, announces a proposed fundraising up to £15m via a conditional placing of up to 44.1m shares at 34p each with existing and new institutional investors.

Solid State (SOLI), up 5.11% to 462.5p, expects to announce an improve set of H1 results, and consistent with market expectations for the year as a whole.

Other stocks in the news included Challenger Acquisitions (CHAL), Workspace (WKP), OptiBiotix (OPTI), CVC Credit Partners European Opportunities (CCPG), Milestone (MSG), Aggregated Micro Power (AMPH), Mytrah (MYT), Secure Property Development & Investment (SPDI), SSP (SSPG), Ladbrokes (LAD), Segro (SGRO), Botswana Diamonds (BOD) and Rathbone Bros. (RAT).

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