UK markets get US open boost to close up despite Brexit debate dragging on sentiment

  • Mon 21 Oct 2019 16:51

    UK stocks closed Monday modestly higher as investors were given an afternoon session boost from a firm opening to markets across the pond, with the tech heavy Nasdaq rallying 0.77%.

    Earlier investor optimism seemed to evaporate as patchy corporate news and a further delay on parliament's vote on Boris Johnson's Brexit deal undermined perceived positives on US-China trade negotiations.

    At 4.30pm, the benchmark FTSE 100 index closed up roughly 17 points higher at 7,167.48, while the pound lost early strength versus the dollar to trade at $1.2974, roughly unmoved.

    Medical equipment manufacturer Smith & Nephew was a heavy FTSE 100 faller, slumping more than 8% to £16.805 on news that chief executive Namal Nawana will be standing down at the end of October to 'pursue other opportunities outside of the UK'.

    Nawana would be replaced by Roland Diggelmann, who joined the company's board as a non-executive director in March 2018 was most recently CEO of Roche Diagnostics.

    Insurance giant Prudential led the FTSE 100 loser board, down nearly 9% to £13.715 after confirming the completion of the demerger of its wealth management business M&G.

    Shareholders had retained their shares in Prudential and also received shares in M&G. The latter's shares closed their first day of trading at 217.55p.

    DEPARTING JUST EAT FAILS TO INSPIRE

    Food delivery firm Just Eat reversed nearly 6% to 589.8p after its revenue grew more slowly than investors had hoped. Just Eat, which is in the middle of being taken over by Dutch rival Takeway.com, saw its top line increase 25% in the third quarter, a disappointment for many market watchers as softer consumer spending in the UK weighed on orders.

    Software group Micro Focus fell 6.3% to £10.19 after Canadian software firm Open Text doused media speculation that it was considering an acquisition of the company.

    Market watchers believe that parts or even all of the Micro Focus business is effectively up for sale.

    Drug developer AstraZeneca shed 0.8% to £67.19 as its type-2 diabetes drug was approved by US regulators to reduce the risk of hospitalisation for heart failure in adults with the condition and established cardiovascular disease.

    SMALL CAP WRAP

    Industrial fastenings manufacturer Trifast sank 15% to 164p after it warned on profits amid a continuation of challenging market conditions into the second quarter of its financial year.

    Petra Diamonds fell more than 6% to 7.58p as it reported a 24% fall in first-quarter revenue owing to lower gem prices and a poorer product mix.

    Technology company Watchstone surged 40%-odd to 150p after it agreed to a settlement of claims made by law firm Slater & Gordon.

    Cybersecurity software group Osirium Technologies nudged up 1.5% to 34.5p on announcing that it would raise around £4m via an issue of shares at 35p and convertible notes, to support the expansion of its business.

    This is not the first time the cyber security minnow has tapped investors for extra cash, previously doing so at 156p at IPO, and then again at 135p in early 2018, demonstrating the struggles the company has had in meeting its ambitions.

    Chemicals company investor Wilmcote shed 1.8% to 53p after its chief executive and chief financial officer both stood down, with immediate effect.


<< Back <<

Just Eat (JE.)

738.00p 0.00p (0.00%) delayed 17:30PM
Price delayed by 15 minutes.

Micro Focus International (MCRO)

1,089.00p +12.00p (+1.11%) delayed 17:30PM
Price delayed by 15 minutes.

Prudential (PRU)

1,338.50p -29.50p (-2.16%) delayed 18:45PM
Price delayed by 15 minutes.

Smith & Nephew (SN.)

1,636.50p -14.00p (-0.85%) delayed 18:29PM
Price delayed by 15 minutes.

Trifast (TRI)

161.00p -3.00p (-1.83%) delayed 17:30PM
Price delayed by 15 minutes.