Profit takers emerge after yesterday’s strong gains for the FTSE 100 on an exceptionally quiet day in terms of corporate news.

Not helping sentiment is president Donald Trump’s overnight threat to impose $100bn worth of further tariffs on Chinese goods. In early trading the index of leading UK shares is down nearly 0.2% at 7,186.87.

Equipment hire business Vp (VP.) gains 3.4% to 847.8p as it says it will post annual results in line with market expectations after it made 'strong progress' over the winter period. 'The UK division has experienced consistent demand from its key infrastructure, construction and housebuilding markets,' the company says.

In its international division, however, it adds that the offshore oil and gas sector 'has remained challenging'. The integration process for the recently-acquired Brandon Hire Group had started well, it added.

Budget airline EasyJet (EZJ) falls 0.7% to £16.29 despite reporting a 3.4% increase in passenger numbers for March compared with a year ago. Given a reduction in competition over the last 12 months as financially stretched rivals have exited the market, investors might have been expecting more impressive growth.

Drugs play Oxford Biomedica (OXB) gains 3.6% to 10.98p after news yesterday afternoon that chief business officer Peter Nolan had snapped up £40,000 worth of shares.

White goods retailer AO World (AO.) ticks up 1.6% to 116.6p as it guides for full year revenue to be towards the top end of analysts expectations.

Independent car dealer Motorpoint (MOTR) gains 9.5% to 237.6p as it says it is ‘cautiously optimistic’ on the UK used car market, flags an 18% increase in full year revenue and says profit will be at the top end of expectations.

AIM-quoted fuel technology play Quadrise Fuels (QFI:AIM) extends year-to-date losses with a 17.2% plunge to 3.15p. Quadrise reveals a project in Saudi Arabia that was set to trial its fuel technology was unlikely to proceed as planned.

As announced in March, there had been a delay in obtaining a trial agreement between Saudi oil and electricity companies, meaning the signing of a fuel-supply agreement with a refinery counterparty had not yet been achieved.

Despite continued efforts by Quadrise to seek a resolution, the refinery counterparty is now unlikely to support the production of its MSAR fuel product for supply to the trial, the company says.

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

Issue Date: 06 Apr 2018