Heightened worries over Middle East tensions and a profit warning from German chipmaker Siltronic (OR8P), which became the latest firm to say that US restrictions on exports to China would hurt its business, have put European markets on the back foot this morning. The FTSE100 was trading down 11.5 points at 7,353.
Defensive sectors Pharmaceuticals and Staples are the leading shares this morning, while economically sensitive sectors such as Travel, Mining and UK Builders are taking the brunt of the falls.
A full list of the risers and fallers can be found HERE
AstraZenca (AZN) shares are up 40p to £62.95 following an announcement that its cancer medicine Lynparza was approved as a first-line maintenance treatment for a type of advanced ovarian cancer by the European Commission, following a panel's consent in April.
Lynparza, is an important drug for Astra’s cancer portfolio and analysts are expecting it to generate multi-billion pound revenues.
Plant-hire Group Ashtead’s (AHT) shares are up 14p at £19.75 after reporting underlying annual pre-tax profit, before exceptional items, up 17% to £1.11bn, and rental revenues up 18% to £4.14bn for the year.
The rise in rental revenues was driven by growth in each of the company's divisions as Sunbelt US, A-Plant and Sunbelt Canada delivered 20%, 4% and 66% rental-only revenue growth, respectively.
Ashtead’s Chief Executive, Brendon Horgan said ‘We remain focused on responsible growth. Our increasing scale and strong margins are delivering good earnings growth and significant free cash flow generation’.
Shares in Videogames company Frontier Developments (FDEV:AIM) were up 7.4% to £11.65 after releasing a very positive trading update. The company said that it expected to report record annual revenue of approximately £89m for FY19, which is more than two and a half times the previous financial year (FY18: £34.2 million).
Chief Executive David Braben said, ‘We are really excited about delivering our next game, Planet Zoo, later this year. The reception we have had from the community has been excellent and we are looking forward to introducing them to the most authentic animals in videogame history’.
Self-storage Company, Safestore Holdings (SAFE) reported a 53% fall in first-half profit to £38.2m, as a reduced gain on the value of its investment properties offset a rise in underlying earnings. Underlying like-for-like average occupancy rates were up 3.9%.
It shares have travelled a long way before today’s results, up 29% year to date, so perhaps it is not surprising to see the shares giving back some gains, off 14p to 639p.
Shares in Utility services provider Telecom Plus (TEP) rose 35p to £14.95 as it reported a 4.9% rise in annual profit after new customer additions helped it post a modest rise in sales.
Pre-tax profit for the year through March rose to £43.0m, as revenue rose 1.5% to £804.4p.
Specialist services group Marlowe (MRL:AIM) reported revenues up 59% to £128.5m and profit before tax up 53% to £8.9m, giving the shares a boost, up 11p to 429p.
After eight acquisitions in the last fiscal year to March 31 2019, the group has significantly increased its scale, especially in the UK water treatment segment. The company announced significant client wins including JD Wetherspoons (JDW), British land (BLND) demonstrating its ability to win nation-wide customers.
Broker Berenberg forecasts a 19% EPS compound growth in earnings per share out to 2021, but believes this growth will be exceeded, due to a continuation of the company’s record of better than forecast organic growth.