FTSE falls away as uncertainty bites and defence sector dives
Source - SMW
Political ructions in the UK and weakness in other major European markets helped negate any help for the FTSE 100 from sterling weakness.
Typically, a weaker pound is good news for the index as it increases the relative value of its overseas earnings. But despite sterling falling sharply, by the close the FTSE was down 0.24% at 7,415.18.
FTSE 250 defence business Ultra Electronics (ULE) crashed 19.5% to £12.30 as it confirmed the departure of chief executive Rakesh Sharma and warned mounting pressure on UK defence spending will mean full year revenue and profit for 2017 will come in lower than previously guided. Sector peers Babcock (BAB) BAE Systems (BA.) and QinetiQ (QQ.) also suffered, down 7.4% to 752.73p, 3.1% to 539p and 6.5% to 213.9p respectively.
Soft drink bottling outfit Coca-Cola HBC (CCH) dropped 4.4% to £24.71 after JPMorgan cut its recommendation on the stock from 'neutral' to 'overweight' and its price target from £28 to £26.
The S&P 500 opened broadly flat, bucking the negative trend in Europe and supported by a relatively encouraging third quarter reporting season.
LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS
Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey (TW.) was flat at 192.9p as slowing sales in the second half are matched by in line guidance for full year results and a reference to a 'positive' UK housing market. Last week the sector suffered widespread weakness after mixed results from Persimmon (PSN).
Pest control business Rentokil Initial (RTO) acquired Vector Disease Acquisition for an undisclosed sum. North America's largest provider of mosquito control services could be the first of several deals as Rentokil points to an M&A pipeline for the second half of its financial year of $100m and says the prospect of further purchases remains 'very strong'. Shares in the FTSE 100 firm ticked up 0.7% to 322.8p.
Funerals specialist Dignity (DTY) slumped 7.4% to £22.76 as a third quarter update references little movement in the number of deaths and significant competition. In the 39 week period to 29 September operating profit was up 5% to £79.4m.
Strong growth in online gambling helped bookmaker Ladbrokes Coral (LCL) post a 2% increase in group revenue in the four-month period to 29 October up from growth of 1% across the rest of the year. The shares fell 2.7% to 133.2p amid continuing focus on a crack down on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals.
SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS
IT security systems firm Newmark Security (NWT:AIM) gained 24.3% to 0.87p after entering a new supply agreement with US workforce management firm WorkForce Software.
Specialist retailer Fishing Republic (FISH:AIM) dived 39.8% to 22.88p as it warned on profit amid a 'significant deterioration' in trading. A change at the top was also announced as former SuperGroup (SGP) e-commerce chief Chris Griffin steps in as acting CEO replacing Steve Gross. Griffin will lead a strategic review as the business looks to step up its online presence.