European shares are in freefall on Thursday following a rout on Wall Street, with jitters over rising US Treasury yields sparking a broad sell-off of riskier assets. London’s FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 are certainly feeling their share of pain, the indices dropping 110.7 and 390.2 points respectively to trade at 7,035 and 18,849.

On a busy day for corporate reporting, homewares retailer Dunelm (DNLM) rallies 8.3% to 587.5p after posting first quarter total like-for-like sales growth of 4.2%, a creditable showing given the strong prior year comparative of 9.3% and driven by rapid online growth. There’s also positive news on gross margins, which have strengthened following the elimination of lower margin sales from the Worldstores business.

Liontrust Asset Management (LIO) improves 12p to 654p on a strong half year trading update. Assets under management grew 15% to £12bn over the six months to September. Boss John Ions also flags a marked year-on-year improvement in net inflows, the CEO insisting ‘we are well positioned for the second half of our financial year given our strong fund management capability and our broader distribution reach.'

Packager Mondi (MNDI) rebounds 31.5p to £18.07 after posting a 30% leap in third quarter underlying EBITDA to €466m and assuring upward input cost pressure is ‘manageable’. There’s also a reasonably positive outlook from Mondi: ‘With our robust business model and culture of driving performance, we remain confident of continuing to deliver an industry leading performance, and sustaining our track record of delivering value accretive growth.'

Jacamo-to-JD Williams brand owner N Brown (BWNG) slumps 24% lower to 106.1p on disappointing first half results, with pre-tax profits down 5% to £30.6m. The struggling retailer also announces a 50% cut in the dividend to 2.83p, which house broker Shore Capital expects will be applied for the full year.

Bookseller-to-stationer WH Smith (SMWH) slumps 8.5% to £18.61 despite putting up robust full year results and announcing a 13% hike in the final dividend and a further £50m share buyback.

Caught up in the wider sell-off, WH Smith announces it will restructure its High Street business following a recent review. Increasingly focused on its flourishing Travel business, the retailer will wind down trial initiatives including WHSmith Local and Cardmarket, and shutter around six loss making High Street stores.

Newspaper publisher Johnston Press (JPR), the company behind The Scotsman, The Yorkshire Post and the ‘I’, edges 0.8% higher to 3.27p after putting itself up for sale following a strategic review of its financing options.

Geotechnical contractor Keller (KLR) crashes almost 30% lower to 675p on news it is reviewing its Asia Pacific business, citing deteriorating conditions in South East Asian markets, notably in Malaysia.

And recruitment giant Hays (HAYS) reverses the best part of 10% to 158.65p after reporting a slower quarterly growth rate in fees earned from placing employees, hurt by the relative strength of sterling versus the euro and Australian dollar.


Issue Date: 11 Oct 2018