UK markets opened on the front foot after new all-time highs were registered in the US overnight as relative calm returned following US-Iranian tensions last week. By 9.15am the FTSE 100 index was 0.4% higher at 7,360 points while the mid-cap FTSE 250 index was up 0.25% at 21,696 points.

Airlines and travel stocks continued to benefit from lower oil prices as IAG Group (IAG) and Easy Jet (EZY) rallied 4% and 3% respectively to 661p and £14.85. The biggest gainer in the sector was Ryanair Holdings (RYA), which put on 6.5% to €16.22 after raising its full year earnings forecast.

On a day of profit warnings from the UK retail sector, heavyweight Sportswear retailer JD Sports (JD.) said in a trading update that profit would be at the upper end of market expectations against a challenging retail backdrop in its core UK market. The shares nudged up 0.7% to 832.5p.

Leading the main board fallers was fashion retailer Superdry (SDRY) which warned that profits may be wiped out this year, tanking the shares by 18% to 386p. The company is in the process of reviving its fashion range following the return of co-founder Julian Dunkerton to the leadership team.

Also reporting softer than expected festive trading was value retailer B&M European Value Retail (BME) which saw a slight up-tick in like-for-like sales growth. The shares were trading off 7% at 369.9p.

Aim listed fashion brand Joules (JOUL:AIM) also warned that profits would be 'significantly' below market expectations as sales over the Christmas period fell short of expectations, sending the shares cratering 26% to 167p.

For the seven-week period to 5 January 2020, retail sales were 'significantly' behind expectations and decreased by 4.5% against the prior year's 11.7%.

The company said it anticipated that 2020 underlying pre-tax profit would be 'significantly' below market expectations of £16.7m.

Life science research tools supplier Abcam (ABC) tightened its outlook on revenue and warned its profit margin would be towards the lower end of its guidance amid higher investment costs. The shares were off 5% at £13.54.

The company expects its adjusted operating profit margin to be close to 25% for the full year compared with a range of 25% to 28%.

A full list of gainers and fallers can be found HERE

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Issue Date: 10 Jan 2020