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FTSE 250 movers: Spire downgrade leads market south

By Edward Swift

Date: Thursday 03 Dec 2015

FTSE 250 movers: Spire downgrade leads market south

(ShareCast News) - The London markets took a turn downhill after the ECB announced a 10 basis point cut to the deposit rate to -0.30%, as expected.
After a morning of gains, the FTSE 250 was down 132.16 (0.75%) to 17,421.76 by mid-afternoon Thursday.

Spire Healthcare led the fallers after Investec cut its stance on the stock to 'sell' from 'hold' and slashed the price target to 234p from 375p, saying near-term risks are not fully reflected in the price. The brokerage said Spire is facing an uncertain future in the short-term, with NHS volumes decelerating and Monitor - the sector regulator for health services in England - proposing to cut orthopedic prices. It noted that recent actions by Monitor to reduce NHS budget deficits have caused significant declines in the volume of work outsourced to the private sector through spot contracts, adding that Spire anticipates this trend to continue, offset in part by growth in 'Choose and Book'.

Debenhams shares were under pressure after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to 'sell' from 'neutral', pointing to slowing space growth. "As one of the UK general retailers wrestling with the online channel shift dynamic, and in recent times suffering from store-based sales cannibalisation, while approaching the end of its UK space growth plans, Debenhams' earnings growth outlook is modest by European retail standards," it said. Goldman noted around 2% earnings per share growth over 2016/17 versus around 10% for peers. It said the group's Christmas trading statement in mid-January and the interim results in April 2016 should underpin the bank's earnings forecasts and cautious stance on the shares.

Diamond producer Petra Diamonds also slumped on the back of Wednesday's news that it would be demoted from the FTSE 250 on December 21. The demotion is one of five compnies to be relegated from the second tier market along with Foxtons Group, Hunting, Kaz Minerals and Premier Oil.

Meanwhile Brewin Dolphin Holdings continued to rise as analysts and traders dissected yesterday's results. Despite funds remaining flat, statutory profit grew substantially as the company focuses on expansion and sent the share price up. In its preliminary results for the year, the investment management firm held total funds of £32.0bn, marginally down from £32.5bn in 2014, with discretionary funds under management up from £24.0bn to £24.8bn. Total income was up 1% for the year to £283.7m, with core income up 5% to £251.3m but with a 12% decline in commission income to £71.5m. Statutory profit before tax surged from £6.8m to £61.0m due costs associated with the termination of new software last year.

Moneysupermarket.com also started to rebound after news on Wednesday that founder Simon Nixon sold nearly half his stake in the comparison website, pocketing a gross £98m. Nixon sold 32m shares, a 5.8% stake, at 305p each and is now subject to a lock-up in respect of his remaining 38m shares (6.9% stake) until the company's full-year results in March 2016. It's the latest move in the website founder's exit from the company. He has been slowly reducing his shareholding and increasing his involvement in other activities over the last two years, and will step down from the board at the end of the year. The news originally sent the share price plummeting 6% on Wednesday.

FTSE 250 - Risers

Brewin Dolphin Holdings (BRW) 288.00p 7.06%
Keller Group (KLR) 862.00p 4.42%
Northgate (NTG) 412.00p 4.04%
Laird (LRD) 378.20p 3.19%
Go-Ahead Group (GOG) 2,683.00p 3.19%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 572.00p 3.16%
Aveva Group (AVV) 2,301.00p 3.14%
Just Eat (JE.) 461.30p 2.73%
Nostrum Oil & Gas (NOG) 385.80p 2.61%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 320.40p 2.58%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Spire Healthcare Group (SPI) 300.30p -8.67%
Debenhams (DEB) 79.70p -6.73%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,085.00p -4.34%
PayPoint (PAY) 964.50p -4.22%
Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 1,686.00p -3.71%
Evraz (EVR) 79.05p -3.35%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 604.00p -3.28%
Zoopla Property Group (WI) (ZPLA) 227.60p -2.86%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 67.55p -2.81%
Lancashire Holdings Limited (LRE) 667.50p -2.69%

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