Despite a drag from miners, London’s FTSE 100 recovered by 10.9 points to trade at 7,500 on Friday with the FTSE 250 up 41.6 points to 19,862, as Vodafone (VOD) jumped on plans to create a separate European tower company and education firm Pearson (PSON) perked up on a positive trading missive.

Mobile giant Vodafone rose 7.4% to 142p on news it will legally separate its towers business into a new organisation, TowerCo, by May 2020, ahead of a potential IPO of the business within the next 18 months.

Vodafone also dialled in an encouraging first quarter update showing a 0.2% decline in organic service revenue, which marked an improvement on the 0.7% decline posted in last year’s final quarter.

Academic publisher Pearson improved 5% to 919.2p as first half results revealed underlying growth across all divisions as the company begins to benefit from accelerating its shift to digital. Investors welcomed unchanged full year operating profit guidance and an earnings per share expectations upgrade to ‘between 57.5p to 63p’ reflecting lower interest and tax bills.

Estate agent Foxtons (FOXT) cheapened 2.3% to 57p on first half results showing a drop in revenue and a widened loss before tax blamed on a Brexit-driven downturn in the London market and continued political uncertainty.

Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct International (SPD) lost 2.4p to trade at 236.8p after irking the market with another delay to its full year results, a shambolic situation which could suggest a material problem with the numbers.

Veterinary services provider CVS (CVSG:AIM) skipped 28p higher to 911.5p after saying it expected adjusted earnings to meet recently upgraded market expectations, annual revenues having climbed by nearly a quarter amid an improved second half performance.

Struggling maternity retailer Mothercare (MTC) was marked down 9% to 18p on yet another profit warning. The high street retailer cautioned the UK market will continue to be ‘uncertain and volatile, accompanied by fragile consumer confidence’ in the medium term as it reported a 3.2% decline in UK like-for-like sales for the first quarter to 13 July. Given slower than expected UK margin recovery, Mothercare now believes underlying full year profits will be ‘broadly’ comparable to the previous year.

Shield Therapeutics (STX:AIM) shot up 56.5% to 162p after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved its lead product Feraccru (Accrufer in the US), a drug for the treatment of iron deficiency in adults. Shield Therapeutics also said it was in discussions with a number of potential commercial partners for the drug across in the US, ‘the world’s most attractive pharmaceutical market’ according to CEO Carl Sterritt.

Window and door retailer Safestyle UK (SFE:AIM) edged 0.1p higher to 65.9p on a first half trading update showing significant turnaround progress. During the half to June, Safestyle UK continued to rebuild its order book and improve its margins and remains on track to deliver a small profit for the full year.

Wrap platform provider Nucleus Financial (NUC:AIM) softened 0.5p to 178.5p on a second quarter update showing higher than expected fund outflows.

Find out how to deal online from £1.50 in a SIPP, ISA or Dealing account.

Issue Date: 26 Jul 2019