A surge in support for 'Leave' ahead of Britain's referendum on EU membership along with falling commodity prices hits the stock market and sterling in early trading.

FTSE 100 shares fall 0.5% to 6,012 and sterling, after a volatile session on Monday, dips around half a cent against the dollar and now buys $1.413.

The corporate news story of the day comes at Premier Farnell (PFL), which is being bought by Swiss electronics company Daetwyler for one billion Swiss francs, or approximately £615 million. The UK maker of the Raspberry Pi mini computer sees its shares soar more than 50% with the deal worth 165p per share to investors.

According to a market run by Betfair on the outcome of the vote, the probability of a British exit from the EU is now the highest since the campaign began, at above 40%.

Banks, considered losers in a 'Leave' scenario, are led lower by Barclays (BARC), down 2.5% to 161p.

Barclays logo

Brent crude prices fall 1.3% to $49.72 and other commodity prices also weaken, hurting diamonds-to-platinum miner Anglo American (AAL), down 2.6% to 619p, commodities trader Glencore (GLEN), 2.3% lower at 130p and iron ore specialist BHP Billiton (BLT), down 2.2% at 806p.

In other corporate news, FTSE 100 equipment rental play Ashtead (AHT) shows a slowdown in US economic growth is not hurting its ability to hire out heavy equipment in the country so far. Full year rental revenue gained 17% at constant currency to £2.3 billion and earnings per share gained 27% to 81.3p. Shares trade 2.3% higher at 979p.

Quirky global lifestyle brand Ted Baker (TED) ticks 2.5% higher to £23.82 after a poor recent run reflecting concerns over prospects in the Far East. Reassuringly, the retailer and wholesaler says it is on track to meet its full-year forecasts with international expansion and a surge in online sales driving growth over the 19 weeks to 11 June. Worldwide selling space has increased by 9.7% with Ted Baker opening stores in Beijing, Ottawa and Seattle and establishing concessions in department stores in France, Germany and Spain in Europe as well as in China and Japan.


Recruitment industry software company Dillistone (DSG:AIM) slumps 10% to 77.5p as admits to 'a softening of the economic environment over recent weeks.' The £15 million company has its fingers crossed that current conditions will prove short-term, but clearly investors are worried.

Barbados hotel operator Elegant Hotels (EHG:AIM) crashes 9% to 89p after it warns full year adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) will be between $20 million and $21 million, down from $22.2 million in 2015. Political uncertainty in the UK has led to a reduction in demand for luxury holidays, while the Zika virus has resulted in room cancellations and significant competitor discounting.

Visitor attraction designer Paragon Entertainment (PEL:AIM) adds 1.8% to 1.5p after swinging to an EBITDA profit of £240,000 in 2015 from a loss of £8,000 the previous year, with a 10% rise in revenue to £8.5 million. In 2016 the majority of its work will come from the Middle East and North Africa, where it is working on several projects including Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar.

An upbeat outlook pointing to huge revenue growth in the current financial year sends Abzena (ABZA:AIM) 3.2% higher to 48.5p. Investors warm to the life sciences tools and services provider despite pre-tax losses almost doubling to £9.7 million in the year to 31 March 2016, as management close more than £9 million worth of business since the year end compared to the £9.9 million revenues generated in the whole of the previous year. Acquisitions in the US are driving new business.

Camden-focused developer Market Tech (MKT) rises 2.4% to 169p on the value of its net assets improving by 40% to £778.9 million in the year to 31 March.

Speciality pharmaceutical Shield Therapeutics (STX:AIM) falls 4.2% to 170p on losses totalling £25 million in 2015. These are the company’s first set of figures since February’s initial public offering (IPO).

Issue Date: 14 Jun 2016