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London open: Stocks rise despite dismal US session; JMAT surges on results

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Wednesday 21 Nov 2018

London open: Stocks rise despite dismal US session; JMAT surges on results

(Sharecast News) - London stocks rose in early trade on Wednesday despite another dismal session on Wall Street, with Brexit still very much in focus as Theresa May headed to Brussels for more talks.
At 0835 GMT, the FTSE 100 was up 0.4% to 6,976.42, while the pound was 0.2% firmer against the dollar at 1.2819 and flat versus the euro at 1.1245.

The upbeat mood came despite another torrid session in the US, where the Dow slumped more than 550 points and the Nasdaq lost just under 120 points, adding to Monday's heavy losses.

Jasper Lawler, a market analyst at London Capital Group, said losses were being sparked by a range of concerns including everything from the US-Sino trade tensions, the Federal Reserve's hiking interest rates quicker than some wanted, haemorrhaging oil prices and a sell-off in tech stocks.

"Caught amongst all these fears is the bottom line that investors are bracing themselves for a significant slowdown in economic and corporate growth. Whilst the economy is still doing well right now, particularly in the US, the phenomenal corporate results of previous years are expected to slow considerably. We are already starting to see signs of this with Apple and its iPhone numbers."

May was due to meet Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels later in the day to try to finalise a Brexit deal ahead of Sunday's summit of European leaders.

Michael Hewson, analyst at CMC Markets, said: "This appears to be taking place against a backdrop of unhelpful interventions from Spain, France and other European countries who would like the deal tweaked more to their benefit, while a spate of unhelpful diplomatic interventions aren't helping either, with the Spanish foreign minister suggesting that the UK might be more susceptible to breaking up than Spain."

Investors were also likely to be keeping an eye on Italy, as the European Commission was expected to formally reject the country's 2019 budget on Wednesday.

On the UK data front, public sector net borrowing figures for October are due at 0930 GMT.

In corporate news, Johnson Matthey surged after reporting a rise in first-half profit and saying full-year operating performance would be towards the upper end of its guidance. In the six months to 30 September, pre-tax profit increased 19% to £244m on revenue of £7.1bn, up 10% from the same period a year ago.

NMC Health was also on the rise after an upgrade to 'overweight' from 'neutral' by JPMorgan, while British Land was boosted by an upgrade to 'buy' at HSBC.

On the downside, Sage Group was the biggest loser after as the accounting software developer said its profit margin will drop in the coming year as it ups investment. On the bright side, the company said a strong fourth quarter enabled it to deliver its tough targets for growing annual sales and profits.

Home improvement retailer Kingfisher was the worst performer on the FTSE 100 as it said third quarter total sales rose 1.2% to £3.04bn in constant currency, but like-for-like sales were down 1.3% reflecting continued weak sales in its French Castorama business. It said the outlook for Castorama was "more uncertain" given difficult trading and the ongoing impact of recent national demonstrations.

Indivior suffered heavy losses a day after a US appeals court judge lifted restrictions on a copycat version of its biggest-selling drug, as it said it was likely to lose up to 80% of its market share for the anti-opioid addiction treatment. It was also hit by a downgrade to 'sector perform' at RBC Capital Markets.

The company, whose shares crashed 47% on Tuesday, said it would oppose the lifting of injunction preventing the generic drugmaker Dr Reddy's Laboratories from getting the permissions to begin selling its generic version of Indivior's Suboxone Film.

Babcock was also in the red after the defence contractor reported a 64% slump in half-year pre-tax profit as it incurred exceptional charges of £120m.

SSP was under the cosh as it posted a jump in full-year profits but said Kate Swann will be stepping down from her role as chief executive officer after more than five years at the company, while TalkTalk was weaker after a trading update.

Market MoversFTSE 100 (UKX)

6,976.42 0.41%

FTSE 250 (MCX)

18,418.25 0.28%


3,396.43 -0.44%

FTSE 100 - RisersJohnson Matthey (JMAT)

3,024.00p 8.89%

NMC Health (NMC)

3,584.00p 5.16%

Melrose Industries (MRO)

170.80p 2.12%

easyJet (EZJ)

1,131.00p 1.85%


5,655.00p 1.80%

British Land Company (BLND)

587.00p 1.73%

Carnival (CCL)

4,536.00p 1.68%

Standard Chartered (STAN)

587.80p 1.63%

Associated British Foods (ABF)

2,500.00p 1.54%

Mondi (MNDI)

1,777.50p 1.51%

FTSE 100 - FallersSage Group (SGE)

504.60p -5.89%

Kingfisher (KGF)

236.30p -4.06%

St James's Place (STJ)

980.20p -1.63%

Royal Mail (RMG)

308.90p -1.56%

United Utilities Group (UU.)

751.40p -1.47%

Shire Plc (SHP)

4,575.50p -1.18%

Intertek Group (ITRK)

4,565.00p -0.70%

Micro Focus International (MCRO)

1,441.00p -0.59%

Severn Trent (SVT)

1,879.50p -0.48%

British American Tobacco (BATS)

2,714.00p -0.46%

FTSE 250 - RisersVivo Energy (VVO)

110.00p 3.77%

Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ)

2,900.00p 3.68%

Paragon Banking Group (PAG)

426.08p 3.57%

Kaz Minerals (KAZ)

537.37p 2.86%

Polymetal International (POLY)

778.20p 2.39%

RPC Group (RPC)

797.40p 2.36%

EI Group (EIG)

180.80p 2.15%

Superdry (SDRY)

747.00p 1.98%

AA (AA.)

91.80p 1.91%

Serco Group (SRP)

91.50p 1.84%

FTSE 250 - FallersBabcock International Group (BAB)

533.20p -10.27%

SSP Group (SSPG)

633.50p -7.49%

TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK)

118.98p -2.48%

Brewin Dolphin Holdings (BRW)

313.20p -1.82%

TI Fluid Systems (TIFS)

184.40p -1.65%

Computacenter (CCC)

1,054.00p -1.50%

Telecom Plus (TEP)

1,306.00p -1.36%

Entertainment One Limited (ETO)

360.80p -1.31%

Balfour Beatty (BBY)

264.07p -1.28%

Big Yellow Group (BYG)

927.00p -1.12%


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