“The FTSE100 opened on the front foot tracking overnight gains on Wall Street, which also had a positive influence on Asian markets,” says AJ Bell Investment Director Russ Mould.
“Next topped the blue-chip board in early trading after it upgraded its annual profit guidance following better-than-expected pre-Christmas sales. Next is a bellwether for the fashion sector and its full price sales were boosted by the cold weather in the run-up to Christmas. The full-year outcome will still depend on its January sales and the long term outlook remains challenging with subdued consumer demand due to a drop in real income and higher costs set to take their toll on profits in the year to January 2019. Next’s shares were up by more than 9.1%.
“Carillion’s woes continue with the group under investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority over the timeliness and content of announcements made between early December 2016 and July last year. The construction group was beset by problems in 2017 and saw its shares crash following a profits warning and write-offs totalling more than £1bn. Carillion’s shares were down by over 3.5% in early trading.
“Spread betting trading house Plus500’s shares soared after it upgraded its revenue and profits guidance. The group attracted around 246,000 new customers during 2017 and achieved record quarterly revenues in the final quarter. Plus500’s shares were up by more than 18.5%.”
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