Markets opened slightly firmer on Monday with the FTSE 100 index 5 points or 0.06% higher at 7,307, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 was 76 points or 0.4% to the good, buoyed by gains in general retailers.

Investors in semiconductor wafer designer IQE (IQE:AIM) were feeling pain today after the Cardiff based company reported a ‘mid-single digit’ operating loss and warned on annual revenue for a second time in less than five months, as issues with two of its major customers weighed. The shares crashed 23% to 50.35p.

Better news welcomed pharmaceutical services firm Consort Medical (CSRT) as it received a recommended cash offer from Sweden’s Recipharm, for £10.10, a 39% premium to Friday’s closing price, valuing the company at £505m. The shares traded 42.5% higher at £10.34.

Accountancy software firm Sage (SGE) said it will sell its payment processing unit Sage Pay to Elavon, a unit of US company Bancorp for $296.8m (£232m), nudging its shares up 0.4% to 740.5p.

Shares in UK distributor Diploma (DPLM) took on 2% to £17.34 as pre-tax profit rose 15% to £83.5m and revenue rose 12% to £544.7m for the year ended 30 September.

Building materials supplier Kingspan (KGP) said that sales rose 8% in the nine months to September, but warned that an uncertain macro backdrop would hurt sales growth in the first quarter of 2020, knocking the shares by 2% to €47.33. The company expects ‘to deliver full year trading profit of circa €490m, or growth of approximately 10% versus 2018, and in line with consensus.’

Pawnbroker H&T (HAT:AIM) slumped 24.7% to 280p on news that it was working closely with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) following a review of its high-cost short-term credit business. This is in light of the changes to the consumer credit rules regarding affordability. H&T has ceased providing such credit whilst the FCA case continues and stresses that the business represents less than 4% of revenues.

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Issue Date: 18 Nov 2019