Markets take a breather

The FTSE 100 took a pause for breath amid a fairly quiet day for large cap corporate news.

Of the blue chip stocks reporting on trading, retail Next (NXT) stood out as investors were relieved that it didn’t downgrade its earnings guidance once again.

Its shares jumped 8.7% to £42.31 in a relief rally.

West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude oil slid higher to $48.26 and $50.85 per barrel, respectively.

Gold was flat at $1,249 per ounce and copper rose 0.3% to $5,798 per tonne.


In Japan, the Nikkei 225 ended the day up 0.2% at 19,085. India’s benchmark index BSE Sensex also had a good day, rising 0.3% to close at 29,266.


Gambling firm GVC (GVC) unveiled full year earnings, which beat analysts’ predictions and also rewarded shareholders with a second special dividend of 15.1 cents, prompting a 2.8% rise in the stock.

Ted Baker (TED) reported a 4% rise in full year pre-tax profit to £61.3m and a 12.1% hike in the dividend, but this didn’t stop the shares falling 5%.

Safety group Halma (HLMA) reassured investors that full year earnings would meet expectations. Management reported that its recently increased credit facility and ongoing strong cash generation would help it to achieve further acquisitions and reach growth objectives.

Shares in residential housebuilder Crest Nicholson (CRST) dipped 0.5% to 558p despite a reassuring trading update. It reported ‘good sales’ across the business with a current forward sales position 5% ahead of the same period last year.


Nektan (NKTN) announced that Respin Games, its US operating subsidiary, signed its first major contract with a Tier-1 US casino operator to launch its real money in-venue mobile games solution in the US casino market. The stock soared by 53%.

Also benefitting from a new deal was Intelligent Energy (IEH) who agreed to supply PINC with its air cooled fuel cell systems for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). This marked Intelligent Energy’s first sale of fuel cell systems for UAVs as it moved forward with the commercialisation of its technology. Shares in the firm sparked 129%.

Franchise Brands (FRAN) said it would buy drain clearance business Metro Rod for £28m. The company announced it is raising £20m to help fund the deal via placing new shares at 67p, which was a 28% discount to yesterday’s share price.

Transport group Eddie Stobart announced it would return to stock market as a standalone entity. Former parent company Stobart Group (STOB) sold a 51% stake in the business three years ago, but will continue to hold a large stake in Eddie once it joins AIM.

WYG (WYG) tanked 18% after reporting delays to some of its higher margin service lines, which hit its profit performance.

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