London’s FTSE 100 gave up 49.2 points to trade at 7,213.3 early on Thursday with investors growing tired of the lack of progress with US/China trade talks and the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting minutes showed it is in no hurry to make further interest rate cuts in the US.

CENTRICA REMAINS ON TRACK

Unloved energy giant Centrica (CAN) rallied 4.5% to 75.96p after leaving its full year outlook for cash flow and earnings unchanged following solid third quarter results showing customer base growth and a recovery in business energy supply margins in North America.

Royal Mail (RMG) reversed 13.1% to 201.1p on the news its transformation is behind schedule and a warning that its UK business could merely break-even or lurch into loss next year against a backcloth of disputes with trade unions, lower gross domestic product (GDP) and business uncertainty.

‘People are posting fewer letters and receiving more parcels’, said chief executive officer (CEO) Rico Back while also disappointing investors by downgrading letter volume expectations.

Chemicals company Johnson Matthey (JMAT) softened 6.5% to £30.06, despite posting good first half sales growth, as investors focused on a slight operating profit decline caused by one-off costs in its Clean Air division.

Elsewhere, CMC Markets (CMCX) was marked up 7.1% to 135.2p as the online trading brokerage upgraded its full year profit outlook as ‘strong’ trading revenue growth in the first half continued into the start of the second half.

GORMLEY IS GOING

Online wine retailer Naked Wines (WINE:AIM) cheapened 3.2% to 254p on disappointing first half results combined with the shock news boss Rowan Gormley is retiring. He’ll shortly hand over the CEO baton to the current chief operating officer Nick Devlin, the man credited with building Naked’s US business.

Motor and home insurer Direct Line (DLG) improved 5.75% to 290.5p as investors welcomed new strategic plans unveiled alongside third quarter results showing some improvement in the overall market environment with the motor business returned to ‘modest growth’.

JET2 OWNER JUMPS

Jet2 owner Dart (DTG:AIM) jumped 8.5% higher to £14.65 on the news the market’s profit expectations for the year to March 2020 should be ‘significantly exceeded’. Travel bookings continue to strengthen ahead of the key Christmas booking period and investors also welcomed a hike in the half year dividend.

Merchant bank Close Brothers (CBG) cheapened 2.3% to £14.22 after flagging lower levels of activity across its markets in the first quarter amid the fog of political and economic uncertainty.

Litigation finance company Manolete Partners (MANO:AIM) fell 65p or 12.7% to 445p on profit taking after a strong share price run. Today’s first half results are strong, showing impressive double digit growth in sales, gross profit and earnings before interest (EBIT) in the six months ended 30 September.

Find out how to deal online from £1.50 in a SIPP, ISA or Dealing account.

Issue Date: 21 Nov 2019