Online broking house Plus500 booked a 56% fall in first-half profit after it was hit by tighter regulations on the trading of contracts for difference and low levels of market volatility in the first quarter. The company also launched a $50m share buyback. Pre-tax profit for the six months through June declined to $51.6m, down from $117.3m on-year. Revenue sank 42% to $148.0m and the company slashed its interim dividend by 56% to $0.2734 per share. Plus500 said its performance improved in the second quarter, as increased market volatility created more trading opportunities. 'The group performed well during what was a difficult period for the entire industry,' chief executive Asaf Elimelech said. 'Financial markets from February 2019 to April 2019 were very stable, providing a limited number of trading opportunities for customers.' 'Against this backdrop, the company continued to invest in focussed marketing, with sequential increases in the number of new and active customers and in customer retention levels, as well as lower customer acquisition costs.' 'Our first-half performance, and trading to date in the third quarter 2019, is consistent with current expectations for 2019.'
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