UK stocks give up yesterday’s gains with the FTSE 100 down 47 points or 0.7% to 7,003 as Engineering, Mining, Oil Services and Utilities stocks weigh on the market.

The Centrica (CNA) trading update reads well with cash-flow in line, the dividend maintained and cost savings above the £200m target set out at the half year stage.

However tucked away at the end is a note that changes to the new energy price cap by Ofgem will result in a one-off hit to operating profits of £70m in the first quarter of next year.

That is enough to send the shares down 7% in early trade to 135p.

Thankfully the half year results from Severn Trent (SVT) seem to be free of surprises. Revenues are up 3.6% and pre-tax profits are up by 1.4% despite a jump in costs after water demand spiked during the hot summer.

Shares drift back 2.8% to £18.60 after a sharp move up ahead of the figures.

Flow-control company Rotork (ROR) sees its shares hit a year-low of 259p down 9% as its third quarter trading update fails to match market expectations.

While revenues are up 8% in the last quarter, orders are down 4%. Demand from the oil and gas and power markets can be fairly lumpy with periods of high demand and low demand according to energy prices.

A drop in orders raises concerns that future sales may not meet estimates.

Topping the mid-cap risers is payments firm Equiniti (EQN) as it reports positive trading since the start of July and raises its full year guidance.

As well as strong performance in its core UK market the company has had a good nine months of trading in the US. Shares rise 4% to 230p in response.

Outsourcer MITIE (MTO) reports a 4% drop in pre-tax profits for the six months to the end of September on lower margins at its cleaning division.

Group half year revenues were up 4% and the company forecasts ‘modest’ growth for the full year while maintaining its margin target. Shares give up 1% to 309p.

Pub operator Mitchells & Butler (MAB) shares also give up 1% to 265p after full year results show positive like-for-like sales and an acceleration in growth since the start of October.

Mitchells & Butler is more food-led than many of its rivals with brands such as Ember Inns, Harvester and Toby Carvery as well as more traditional pubs like Nicholson’s and Vintage Inns.

Among the stocks going ex-dividend today are Imperial Brands (IMB) and National Grid (NG.).

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Issue Date: 22 Nov 2018