London’s FTSE 100 shed 9.1 points to trade at 7,273 on Tuesday as political uncertainty caused sterling to drop below $1.20 for the first time since 2017. This weighed on the UK-focused FTSE 250, dragging it back by 26 points to 19,456 and is also bad news for UK domestic FTSE 100 stocks including the housebuilders, supermarkets and various banks.

Plumbing and heating products distributor Ferguson (FERG) firmed 2.4% to £62.88 on news it plans to demerge its Wolseley UK business and list it as a separate company. Seemingly bowing to pressure from activist investor Nelson Peltz, Ferguson, which will now focus on growth in North America, also announced that chief executive officer (CEO) John Martin is stepping down and named Kevin Murphy as his successor.

Wagamama-to-Frankie & Benny’s owner Restaurant Group (RTN) reversed 7.7% to 142.4p after swinging to a statutory first half loss after taking a large impairment charge on the value of its assets. Investors were also unnerved by news of a significant slowdown in like-for-like sales growth in the past six weeks.

Packaging company DS Smith (SMDS) softened 10.9p to 330.7p, despite saying full year expectations remained unchanged, as it acknowledged that volumes were being impacted by economic uncertainty.

Xaar (XAR) slumped 28% to 62.8p after the digital inkjet play flagged weak trading trends amid lower sales of its Xaar 1201 and Xaar 2001 printheads, said it would write down the value of its assets and delayed the date of its first half results.

Convenience food manufacturer Greencore (GNC) gained 1.1p to trade at 211p on the £56m acquisition of salads-to-chilled snacks maker Freshtime.

Flooring manufacturer Victoria (VCP:AIM) rolled 4.2% higher to 500p on a confident trading update, with the carpets designer stating that like-for-like sales growth, margins and earnings are all tracking ‘well ahead’ of last year.

Industrial components and consumables maker Synnovia (SYN:AIM) surged 40% higher to 122.5p after recommending a £48.8m cash offer from Camelot Capital Partners, a takeover bid that represents a 43% share price premium.

Recruiter Hydrogen (HYDG:AIM) hopped 4p higher to 52.5p as first half results revealed continued strong earnings growth, despite Brexit-related uncertainty and more challenging market conditions in a number of Asian markets.

Tissue converter Accrol (ACRL:AIM) ticked 3% higher to 26.25p on full year results revealing positive turnaround progress with a return to profitability at the adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) level.

Computer, power and communications products manufacturer Solid State (SOLI:AIM) skipped ahead 12.8% to 485p on the cheery news full year profits are expected to be ‘significantly ahead’ of market expectations.

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Issue Date: 03 Sep 2019