FTSE 250 slumps on profit warnings

The FTSE 250 was hit by profit warnings from Berendsen (BRSN) and Amec Foster Wheeler (AMFW). It was 0.6% lower at 17,555.

The blue chip index was flat after a weak trading session overnight in the US and Asia.

The UK grew by 0.5% in the third quarter to September, compared with 0.7% in the three months to June, according to the Office for National Statistics.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil climbed 0.4% to $49.37 and Brent crude oil rose 0.6% to $50.30 per barrel, respectively.

Gold and copper prices were flat at $1,264 per ounce and $4,717 per tonne, respectively.


Pension deficit issues failed to dampen Barclays’ (BARC) stock. Third quarter results showed core earnings in the nine months to 30 September were 4% higher year-on-year to £4.9bn.

Telecom giant BT’s (BT.A) £12.5bn takeover of mobile phone network EE helped to deliver a 35% increase in sales to £6bn and a 24% gain in adjusted operating profit at £1bn in the first half of 2016. However, investors were spooked as the company’s defined benefit pension obligation almost doubled to £11.5bn from £6.4bn in March.


Shares in Berendsen fell 17% to £10.20 following a profit warning which said cost overruns in its UK healthcare and hospitality businesses would mean profit expectations for the year to 31 December were likely to be missed. Operating profit was expected at around £160m, around £30m from earlier analyst estimates.

Engineer Amec Foster Wheeler (AMFW) slumped 18.3% to 478.3p on an uncertain outlook statement for 2017. The firm reported weaker performance in its oil and gas and solar markets and better contributions from mining and infrastructure.

Luxury car distributor Inchcape (INCH) was in negative territory despite solid third quarter figures boosted by sterling weakness. Concerns centred on CEO Stefan Bomhard’s comments that ‘an anticipated slower top-line environment, the transactional currency pressure in Australia and uncertainty on the timing of a market recovery in North Asia impact the trading outlook for 2017.’

Shares in department store Debenhams (DEB) are 3.3% higher on strong full year results as underlying pre-tax profits were up 0.5% to £114.1m on like-for-like sales growth, Net debt fell by nearly £41m to £279m.

Metal flow engineer Vesuvius (VSVS) said restructuring measures and a weaker pound improved trading profit in the third quarter to 30 September.

Trading solution provider Fidessa (FDSA) pleased investors with in-line trading and expectations to benefit from continued weakness in sterling, which will support cash generation and its dividend policy.

Kaz Minerals (KAZ) said full year silver production was expected to exceed its top end targets of 2,500koz to 2,750koz as a result of a lower than expected grade decline in the East Region this year.

Energy services group Hunting (HTG) proposed an equity placing to raise money to reduce its debt and improve its ‘financial flexibility’.


Shares in Mineral and Financial Investment (MAFL) jumped 15.5% on an update on its investment in TH Crestgate’s activities. The Lagoa Salgada Lead-Zinc project in Portugal showed significantly higher indium and selenium content than expected, as well as previously identified zinc, lead, copper, silver and gold.

Total gold production at Avocet Mining (AVM) slumped from 17,694oz at a cash cost of $1,047 per ounce to 21,086oz at $903 per ounce, causing the miner to trade 33% lower.

Building products specialist Alumasc (ALU) said the company’s performance since its 30 June year-end continued to be strong, triggering a share price rise of 6% to 151p.

Independent publishing house Bloomsbury (BMY) reported total revenues climbed by a nearly a fifth to £62.7m and said it expected a stronger second half as book sales tended to peak over the Christmas period.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com