– The FTSE 100 closed the day at 6,718.49, a fall of 28.60 points.
– The FTSE 250 tumbled 90.01 points to finish at 17,655.83.
– The FTSE All Share slipped 15.63 points to 3,662.14.
– The FTSE AIM All Share finished at 753.17, a rise of 0.61 points.
The Office for National Statistics has said that the UK trade deficit narrowed to £4.9 billion for the latest quarter, the lowest level since the second quarter of 2011. The strength of the pound seems to have had a smaller effect on overseas demand than anticipated as exports were £2.9 billion higher in June than in the prior three months. EEF Chief Economist Lee Hopley said, “the UK’s trade performance adds to the generally positive data seen over the past month with the deficit narrowing and goods exports to both European and non-EU markets improving, especially to France, China and the US”.
Housebuilder Bellway (BWY) sold a record 7,752 properties in the year ended 31st July, at prices that have continued to rise over the period, with mean sales values ending up at around £224,000. The firm said that margins would be roughly 300 basis points higher than in the preceding year and that the value of its order book now stands at £1.09 billion. Numis kept its “add” rating following the update and said that “there is scope for further upgrades if market conditions remain favourable and we do not think this, or the fact the group’s returns are top-quartile when normalising balance sheets across the sector, is factored into Bellway’s relative rating versus peers”. The shares grew by 18p to 2,473p.
Bookmaker William Hill (WHM) has reported that pre-tax profits for the six months ended 1st July fell by 35% to £78.7 million. The company blamed the decline on increased taxes on gambling in the UK. William Hill also announced that it was buying a 29.4% stake in lottery software developer NeoGames for a $25 million (£16.15 million) cash consideration. Nomura expressed concern about the firm’s UK focus and said, “we continue to think that the winners in this industry will be those that have a strong, differentiated online presence and wide, regulated geographical exposure that dilutes the impact of any single regulator”. William Hill shares dropped 26.6p to 384.3p.
Shares in Superglass (SPGH) rose by 7.41% to 3.62p after the company announced that its return to a positive EBITDA position would take longer than previously anticipated due to a combination of factors including increased infrastructure spending and challenging market conditions. As a result of price increases, the firm has withdrawn from lower-margin export markets and domestic sub-sectors, which has eaten into volume during the current trading period.
Pharmaceutical manufacturer Aortech (AOR) saw its shares rocket 41% to 36p after the company revealed that revenues had doubled to $844,000 (£545,780) over the year ended 31st March. The company also swung to a small operating profit from its $440,000 (£284,530) loss in the prior period. There was some negative news, however, as cash levels continued to fall.
Monday’s news today
Esure (ESUR) and Gresham Computing (GHT) are among the firms that will publish interim results at the start of next week.
Quote of the day
“Working hard and working smart sometimes can be two different things.”
– Byron Dorgan