After a week dominated by ongoing tariff talks between the US and China and their impact on global trade, Brexit worries have again resurfaced to drag on UK investor sentiment.

The UK's benchmark gets off to a shaky start to early trading on Friday, declining around 16 points to 7,337, but the market mood is not being helped by new emerging threats to FTSE 100 food delivery business Just Eat (JE.).

It has been shaken by news that Amazon has taken a hefty stake in Deliveroo, one of Just Eat's chief rivals, in its latest $575m (£450m approx) funding round.

SEE ALL OF TODAY'S RISERS AND FALLERS HERE

Reports suggest that this will make the US online commerce giant Deliveroo's largest financial backer and that spells bad news for Just Eat's already embattled business. Shares in Just Eat slump 8% to 624p as investors digest this troubling tightening of the competition screw, making the company by far the FTSE 100's biggest faller on Friday.

RELIEF FOR EASYJET

Brighter news among the blue chips comes from budget airline  Easyjet (EZJ) which posts a reassuring update on trading alongside its half year results.

The figures show pre-tax losses soaring from £68m to £275m for the six months to 31 March 2019 with costs per seat up 3.9%, offsetting a 4.9% rise in overall passenger numbers.

But EasyJet shares rally more than 4% to £10.15 with investors relieved that previous gloom maybe have been overplayed, with the airline optimistic that anticipated second half revenue per seat declines will likely be offset by lower cost per seat.

In April EasyJet warned about weak summer sales amid Brexit uncertainty.

Challenged challenger bank Metro (MTRO) surges 19% to 634p as investors react with relief to its emergency fund raise late on Thursday.

Metro Bank yesterday confirmed the successful £375m cash call at 500p per share. While that represents a rough 15% discount to Wednesday's 584p closing price it appears that investors had been expecting a much wider and more dilutive share placing.

Investors will also be buoyed by a soothing statement from the regulator. The Prudential Regulation Authority said that Metro Bank profitable and continues to have adequate capital and liquidity to serve its current customer base, in a statement.

RECRUITER COLLAPSE

Shares in recruitment firm Staffline (STAF:AIM) tumble more than 50% in early trade on Friday after issuing a hefty profit warning.

The blames Brexit uncertainty for a massive slowdown in its various jobs markets. Particularly worrying for investors is that the impact seems to be most acutely felt in Staffline's higher margin driving and automotive sectors.

This is leading to a number of customers transferring a significant volume of their temporary workforce into permanent employment to mitigate the risk of labour market tightening.

The company now believes operating profit in 2019 are likely somewhere in the £23m to £28m region, a massive downgrade on the rough £43m that analysts had been forecasting.

Staffline shares have crashed from 838p at close on Thursday to 390p today.

A strong trading update from publisher Future (FUTR) pushes its shares more than 10% higher to 935p. The company flags increasing scale and improving operating leverage.

The company points out a ‘record breaking first half’ as it executes its strategy focused on ‘audience engagement and technology innovation’, according to chief executive Zillah Byng-Thorne.


Issue Date: 17 May 2019