The FTSE 100 and 250 indices head in opposite directions amid panic over Brexit developments. Dominic Raab’s resignation as Brexit Secretary has triggered a sell-off in the pound and hurt the domestically-focused FTSE 250, down 0.7% to 18,772.

In contrast, the more internationally-focused FTSE 100 rises 0.5% to 7,069, helped by strength in the mining sector amid hope that trade tensions will ease between the US and China.

Among corporate news, shares in Royal Mail (RMG) slump 5.8% to 327.7p amid an uninspiring first-half update where forecasts remain unchanged.

UK parcel and letter revenues were down 1% as parcel volumes rose but letter volumes fell due in part to the new restrictions on personal data which hit marketing mail.

The international business did better with revenues up 9% but higher costs including wages pushed operating profit down.

Housebuilder Bovis (BVS) has delivered an uninspiring update for the three months to mid-November sending the shares down 6.6% to 971.9p.

The company has already hit its full-year sales target and expects profits to be at record levels but Brexit uncertainty continues to hold back buyers.

Newcomer Aston Martin Lagonda (AML) reported sharply higher third-quarter revenues as vehicle sales almost double on US and Asian demand.

Its sales hit £282m in the third quarter on strong demand for its DB11 variants and the first full quarter of production for the Vantage model.

The company now expect to achieve sales at the top end of its stated range of 6,200 to 6,400 units. Investors seem unimpressed, sending the shares down 6% to £15.15 leaving them 20% below their IPO price.

Specialist engineering firm Bodycote (BOY) pleased with its trading update for the four months to the end of October, with shares inching up 1% to 788p.

Revenues grew by 5% to £243m driven by a 14% increase at the aerospace division thanks to increased output of the LEAP engine programme.

Growth is expected to slow in the final two months of the year as the comparison with last year is tougher but the company has at least kept its targets.

Also in the specialist-engineering sector Spirax-Sarco (SPX) pleased as it reported that revenues for the four months to the end of October grew slightly compared with the first half.

The shares gain 1% to £66.65 although the company warned that visibility is limited due to the short-term nature of its order-book.

High-street retailer Card Factory (CARD) announced nine-month sales up 3.4% lifted by higher average spend per customer and a strong online showing.

With Christmas just over a month away sales should accelerate but investors seem unmoved and the shares drop 1% to 192p.

Cinema group Cineworld (CINE) unveils a strong performance with revenues for the year to November up 11.6% compared with 10.8% in the first half, suggesting a measurable improvement since the summer.

The company cites big releases such as the latest ‘Mission Impossible’ film and ‘Venom’ as driving US receipts while in Europe audiences lapped up ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and the second instalment of ‘Mamma Mia!’.

Despite this investors send the shares down 6% to 279p.

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Issue Date: 15 Nov 2018