London’s FTSE 100 trades flat at 7,658.3 points on Monday, the blue chip benchmark’s progress hindered by ongoing tensions over trade between the US and China and some chatter on Brexit.

Office space provider IWG (IWG) slumps 23.3% to 230.1p after terminating talks with a trio of companies that had been pursuing a takeover deal for the company and reporting a drop in first half profits. ‘The board unanimously believes that none of the interested parties is currently capable of delivering an executable transaction at a recommendable price,’ says IWG, whose profit before tax (PBT) slumped to £54.3m from £80.8m for the half to June, management blaming the poor performance on weak results in the UK.

Also looking sickly is Spire Healthcare (SPI), the independent hospital group crashing 25% lower to 185.9p on a warning 2018 earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) will be ‘materially lower’ than for 2017 amid continuing weakness in its NHS business.

‘With our renewed focus on the private market, we are seeing encouraging momentum and expect our top line to recover through the second half of 2018 and increasingly in 2019 and beyond,’ insists CEO Justin Ash, adding ‘the benefit of our major cost savings initiatives will accelerate through next year.’

HSBC (HSBA) softens 6.4p to 709.4p, investors reacting cautiously to a 2% drop in first half adjusted PBT to $12.1bn, the banking giant’s results impacted by rising expenses from investments in a new growth strategy. HSBC, which has set aside a US$765m provision to resolve a civil claim by the US Justice Department over allegations it mis-sold toxic mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the credit crisis, has appointed Jonathan Symonds as its deputy chairman.

Groceries giant Tesco (TSCO) confirms it has formally entered into a long-term joint purchasing alliance with Carrefour which will become operational in October, although the shares are largely flat at 259.4p.

Content management and language translation software and services specialist SDL (SDL) gains 12p or 2.4% at 518p on news of a good start to the year, with first half PBT up 30% to £7.8m. CEO Adolfo Hernandez is excited by the acquisition of Donnelley Language Solutions, which ‘accelerates parts of our premium services strategy and provides the opportunity to apply the same operational improvement initiatives to the acquired business over time.'

Budget airline EasyJet (EZJ) improves 7p to £15.57 as its latest monthly passenger statistics for July show 4.5% year-on-year growth despite the impact of industrial action, adverse weather and a runway closure at Gatwick airport.

Chemicals business Synthomer (SYNT) skips 17.5p higher to 537.5p as the plastics supplier posts a 6.4% rise in first half PBT to £76.2m, ups the dividend 8.1% to 4p and reiterates full year guidance.

Disease and allergy testing kit supplier Omega Diagnostics (ODX:AIM) cheapens 14.5% to 13.25p after swinging to an annual loss after sales slipped and the company placed its German allergies unit into administration.

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Issue Date: 06 Aug 2018