London’s FTSE 100 is off to a strong start on its first trading day of the autumn, bid up 47.5 points to 7,480 on Monday after enduring a difficult month of August.

In corporate news, Scottish broadcaster STV (STVG) skips 4.6% higher to 410p after inking a four-year strategic partnership with Virgin Media which will see Virgin TV customers in Scotland have access to fully regionalised versions of STV in HD (high definition) for the first time.

Virgin Media’s TV platform is very popular right across Scotland and we’re delighted to be enhancing our partnership and extending the reach of STV’s fantastic programmes through this innovative, long term agreement,’ says STV CEO Simon Pitts.

Weak consumer sentiment and subdued high street footfall continue to bite at branded footwear retailer Footasylum (FOOT:AIM), which slumps 49% to 43p on another profit warning. A small adjusted EBITDA loss is expected for the half year ended 25 August. And given disappointing store sales, increased discounting  and delays to new store openings and upsizes, full year sales growth will fall short of already-downgraded expectations and adjusted EBITDA will be ‘significantly lower than previous guidance, at less than half of the full year 2018 adjusted EBITDA of £12.5m’.

Also in the doghouse is Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH), the veterinary drugs specialist marked down 11.6% to £27.58 as investors take profits following a strong share price run. Full year results reveal slower top line growth and Dechra concedes it faces ‘many challenges in the market, which is developing faster than at any time in its history’.

Advertising titan WPP (WPP) edges 4p higher to £12.83 on the appointment of Mark Read as its new CEO following the acrimonious exit of Martin Sorrell.

Specialist media outfit Future (FUTR) improves 6% or 25.5p to 450p on the news full year EBITDA is expected to be ahead of market expectations thanks to a boost from World Cup related campaigns and some larger than expected product launches. Deal-hungry Future ‘continues to show good revenue growth in all our core areas’ with management insisting ‘our cash conversion continues to be excellent.'

Elsewhere, Royal Mail (RMG) rises 1.6p to 449.6p on the £213m, earnings enhancing acquisition of Canadian parcel delivery firm Dicom Canada from Chicago-based private equity firm Wind Point Partners.

Cake, bread and muffin maker Finsbury Food (FIF:AIM) firms 1.5p to 126p on the acquisition of Ultrapharm, a specialist gluten free bakery with long term blue chip customers, including Finsbury itself.

And the UK’s sixth biggest automotive retailer, Vertu Motors (VTU:AIM), accelerates 3.2% north to 50.8p on the appointment of seasoned sector mover and shaker Andrew Goss as independent non-executive director and a reassuring pre-close trading update. Goss says ‘the next few years will see significant transformation of the automotive sector around new technologies and changing customer behaviours’ and believes ‘a proactive group like Vertu can be very well positioned to take advantage of these changes.'

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Issue Date: 03 Sep 2018