The FTSE 100 is up by nine points to 7223.67 having opened in negative territory. The market is eagerly awaiting today’s Spring Statement from chancellor Phillip Hammond at midday which should give an indication of the UK’s borrowing plans and general fiscal policy.

The weak opening may have been due to overnight falls in US mega caps and a poor performance in Asian markets but good responses to large natural resource companies' results seems to have turned this around.

Copper producer Antofagasta (ANTO) ticks up 2.7% to 991.8p as it enjoys higher metal prices. For its year ending 31 December 2017, the company’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 59.1% to $2.6bn on a year-on-year basis.

Its revenue increased 31.1% to $4.7bn on the back of higher metal prices. The company’s operating cash improved by 71.2% to $2.5bn due to stronger margins and higher sales.

Oil and gas company Cairn Energy (CNE) is up 1.5% to 214p as it reports successful developments of it Senegal oil fields as well as first oil production from its North Sea operations. The company’s capital expenditure estimates for its North Sea venture has been reduced by 25% to 30%.

Tonic water company Fevertree Drinks (FEVR:AIM) weakens 4% to £25.85 as the company breaks with tradition and only reports results the market was anticipating.

For its year ending 31 December, the company’s revenue was up 66% to £170.2m on a year-on-year basis. Its profit margin thinned to 53.5% from 2016’s 55.2% although its company’s cash position improved to £50.9m from £26.9m in 2016.

Pre-tax profit grew by 65% to £56.4m. Broker Investec made no changes to its forecasts following the release of Fevertree’s 2017 results.

High Street fashion retailer French Connection (FCCN) jumps 18.7% to 40p as its results for its 2018 year suggest a change in fortune for physical retailer.

Revenue is up 0.5% to £154m compared to a 6.7% decline in 2017 and the company has reduced its operating loss to £0.6m compared to a loss of £3.1m for 2017. The company also closed 11 stores during the year although opened a ‘new concept’ store in Manchester.

IT and computer services company Computacenter (CCC) sheds 6% to £10.60 as it flags difficulties for 2018 in France. The company says that although it has experienced strong profit growth in France in the last two years, it no longer has the benefit of a ‘particularly successful project’ that finished in 2017.

Full year results for 2017 reveal that revenue increased by 16.9% to £3.8bn while its adjusted pre-tax profit improved 22.9% to £106.2m.

Pawnbroker H&T (HAT:AIM) improves 2% to 360p after posting a good set of results for its 2017 financial year. The company’s pre-tax profit improved 32.1% to £14.1m while its dividend per share was hiked 14.1% to 10.5p.

Its personal loan book has almost doubled, with a 94.7% increase to £18.3m on a year-on-year basis.

Audio-visual support services company Midwich (MIDW:AIM) loses 8.4% to 545p as many may have decided to take profits from this high growth company. For its year ending 31 December 2017, it has improved its pre-tax profit by 56.2% to £18.9m and hiked its dividend per share by 36.2% to 13.82p.


Issue Date: 13 Mar 2018