US stocks were steady overnight after retail sales data beat expectations and trade talks with China were said to be ‘productive’, despite US tariffs on $125bn of Chinese exports coming into effect at the start of next month.

After the longest delay in opening in eight years, due to technical issues, the FTSE 100 index rebounds 0.7% from yesterday’s six-month low adding 50 points to 7,117. The FTSE 250 smaller-cap index adds 0.4% to 18,716.

In a thin day for corporate news, defence contractor Ultra Electronics (ULE) announces that it has won a major joint contract to manufacture sonobuoys for the US Navy.

Together with Sparton DeLeon Springs, a specialist in sonobuoy design, Ultra will deliver up to $1bn worth of equipment over five years. Shares add 1.5% to £21.75.

Ted Baker (TED), the ‘global lifestyle brand’, reveals that it has signed a five-year product licence agreement with high-street rival Next (NXT) to accelerate the roll-out of its childrenswear offering.

The new agreement will come into force when the current deal with Debenhams, which has gone into administration, ends in February 2020. Ted Baker shares dip 0.5% to 899p.

Shares in motor dealership Pendragon (PDG) gain 2.6% to £11.02 on the news that the firm has agreed to sell a Californian Chevrolet dealership for £17.2m in cash. Pendragon has already sold two other dealerships in California for £60m.

International payments firm Equals Group (EQLS) rises 0.5% to 110.5p after it unveils a £16m rights issue to ‘accelerate (its) corporate offering’ as well as provide working capital and ammunition for small bolt-on acquisitions.

The company is issuing 12.7m new shares at a price of 110p, as well as an ‘open offer’ of a further 1.8m shares at the same price.

Gold-digger Acacia Mining (ACA) sheds 0.5% to 247p after it reports that it has started to receive export permits from the Tanzanian Ministry of Metals.

This has allowed it to resume exports from its North Mara mine and to meet its current financial obligations although production at the mine is still suspended.

Investment trust Pershing Square Holdings (PSH) reports a 45% net return for the half year to 30 June which tops even its best full-year return of 42.6% in its first year of operation (2004). The half year return compares with an 18.5% return for the S&P 500 index. Shares add 0.5% to £14.53

Book publisher Quarto (QRT) reveals a significant reduction in pre-tax losses compared with last year despite revenues being flat in its seasonally weaker first half. Losses halved to $4.4m from $8.9m on turnover of $56.4m.

However shares decline by 1.5% to 66.5p after the firm says it expects the second half to be ‘particularly challenging’, especially in adult co-editions.

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Issue Date: 16 Aug 2019