The FTSE 100 is managing to consolidate the gains it managed yesterday, up 0.16% to 7,070.76 and comfortably above the key 7,000 barrier for now. After taking their cue from a solid US close, investors’ focus is likely to switch to Brexit and the EU summit in Brussels which gets underway later today.

Online clothing retailer ASOS (ASC:AIM) bounces back in fine fashion this morning after being caught up in the market sell off, up 15% to £57.48, as it manages a narrow beat of forecasts for the 12 months to 31 August with profit up 28%, maintains its guidance for the current year and points to ‘huge’ potential for its business.

There are contrasting fortunes for two of the housebuilding contingent on Wednesday.

Housebuilder Barratt Developments (BDEV) says it has made 'strong' start to the new fiscal year as housing demand remained robust supported by attractive mortgages and positive government policy. Though its shares still dip 0.9% to 509.6p as some key metrics soften.

For the period from 1 July to 14 October, net private reservations per active outlet averaged 0.72 per week, down from 0.74. The company launched 53 new developments, including joint venture, for the period, down from 62 a year earlier, and was operating from an average of 365 active outlets, down from 371. The housebuilder's forward sales are up by 12.4% to £3.15bn.

Rival Crest Nicholson (CRST) cuts its profit guidance for the full year blaming lower margins owing to rising costs and subdued sales as homebuyers shunned higher priced homes in the South East and London.

The company says it now expects that full-year pre-tax profit will be in the range of £170m to £190m. Its shares slump 8.8% to 294.7p.

IT infrastructure company Softcat (SCT) posts a 35% rise in annual profit as it grows its customer numbers and cross-sells more products to existing customers.

Pre-tax profit for the year through July hits £68.1m, as revenue rises 30% to £1.08bn.

The company declares a final dividend of 8.8p per share, up 44% year-on-year, plus a special dividend of 15.1p per share, up 12% year-on-year.

However, perhaps reacting to the political and economic uncertainty and tough comparative figures flagged in the outlook statement, the shares fall 5.6% to 747p.

Educational publisher Pearson (PSON) reports flat revenue in the first nine months of the year, and sticks to its full year guidance.

The company says the flat revenue performance came as weakness in its US higher education business was offset by a combined improvement at all its other divisions. The shares are up 5.8% to 846.6p.

Private healthcare group Mediclinic International (MDC) says its first-half revenue and operating profits fall, amid a weaker-than-expected performance in the Middle East and Switzerland.

Adjusted earnings for the six months through September slips around 8% to around £21m, as revenue dips 1% to £1.4bn. The shares are down 13.3% to 411.4p.

Resources firm Berkeley Energia (BKY) sees its shares slump 44.8% to 14.5p on reports the Spanish government won't deliver permits for its uranium mine.

'If correct this would clearly be an existential crisis for the company,' says Liberum. Berkeley is yet to comment although its Australian listing is suspended.

 


Issue Date: 17 Oct 2018