UK markets start the week flat with energy stocks such as BP (BP.), Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) and John Wood Group (WG.) supporting the FTSE 100 at 7,437 as Brent crude prices continue to move up while Travel stocks are the main losers.

On a quiet day for company news, airline Ryanair (RYA) reports full year profits down 29% to €1.02bn as strong traffic growth is offset by lower fares.

Growth in short-haul capacity and a late Easter led to a 6% fall in fares while traffic grew by 7% including Lauda Air which was acquired in December.

Despite the company revealing a new €700m share buy-back starting this week, investors mark the stock down 5.5% to €10.20. Shares in rival EasyJet (EZJ) give up 3.3% to 990p while TUI (TUI) softens 2.4% 808p.

Shares in theme-park operator Merlin Entertainments (MERL) shed 6% to 353p after a downgrade from analysts at HSBC who cut their view to Hold from Buy and reduce their price target from 450p to 315p.

Going the opposite way is digital media firm Ten Lifestyle (TENG:AIM) which announces it has won a new three-year contract with a global TMT (technology, media and telecoms) group.

The contract is worth up to £2m in the first year and over £2m annually in each of the following years. Shares add 3% to 71.3p.

Racing ahead are shares in Aston Martin Lagonda (AML) gaining 5% to 915p as investors re-assess last week’s first quarter results which showed strong demand for its products in the US and China.

Estate agency Foxtons (FOXT) issues a downbeat first quarter trading update with sales volumes at ‘record low levels’ in London and revenues from lettings just ahead of last year’s first quarter. Shares slip 2.5% to 58.5p

Online agency Purplebricks (PURP;AIM) also gives up 2.5% to 101.5p despite the appointment of an interim chief executive for its struggling US business. In February the company announced that it would replace the heads of both its UK and US operations.

Following the old stock market adage of 'feed the ducks when they are quacking', automotive testing systems-maker AB Dynamics (ABDP:AIM) takes advantage of its recent record price-high to raise £50.1m in a placing and open offer at £22 per share. The stock is marked down 3% to £24.45 in response.


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Issue Date: 20 May 2019