London’s FTSE 100 fell 41 points to 6,774.6 early on Thursday, dragged down by ongoing coronavirus fears, a confidence knock from Flybe’s collapse into administration, and losses for the likes of miners Rio Tinto (RIO) and BHP (BHP) as well as a share price slide from Standard Chartered (STAN).
Also weighing down the blue chip benchmark was free-to-air broadcaster ITV (ITV), which plunged 9.1% to 105.9p after warning it expects total advertising revenue will be down 10% in April due to recent travel advertising deferments triggered by the coronavirus.
Heading in the opposite direction was Aviva (AV.), which advanced 4.2% to 364.9p as chief executive officer (CEO) Maurice Tulloch unveiled a 6% rise in full year operating profit to a record £3.2bn and raised the full year dividend by 3% to 30.9p. Tulloch also insisted the life assurer’s capital position remains ‘strong and resilient’.
Active asset manager Schroders (SDR) edged 4p higher to £28.88, despite posting a modest drop in pre-tax profit amid equity markets volatility, as investors focused on 2019’s impressive 23% growth in assets under management to a new high of £500.2bn.
Industrial thread company Coats (COA) ticked up 7.3% to 62.4p after it reported a year of continued growth in profits and cash for 2019, some achievement given tricky market conditions. ‘Absent a material impact from Covid-19, Coats remains well placed to execute our strategy and deliver another year of growth in 2020,’ insisted CEO Rajiv Sharma.
Construction and infrastructure services firm Kier (KIE) rallied 11.3% to 113p as first half results revealed turnaround progress with adjusted operating profit perking up 3.4% to £46.7m. Cost cutting more than compensated for challenging market conditions and Kier also said it has been awarded places on several major projects since the start of the New Year.
Domino’s Pizza (DOM) soured 3% to 295.8p on news of a full year earnings miss and declining margins in the UK and Ireland business, as well as increased international losses and an £18.7m write-down of the pizza delivery chain’s London corporate store estate.
And Amigo (AMGO) slumped 16.5% lower to 33.85p with investors rattled by a dispute between the company and founder and 61% shareholder James Benemor over the guarantor loan group’s working relationship with the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).