JD Sports, Provident Financial and IG Design

“The FTSE 100 edged higher as investors kept their powder dry ahead of key UK inflation data due later this morning. Upbeat growth forecasts, as well as improved optimism over negotiating a satisfactory Brexit deal, has seen the pound rally in recent days,” says AJ Bell Investment Director Russ Mould.

JD Sports topped the FTSE 250 board following strong trading during the Christmas period. The group now expects headline pre-tax profits of around £300m compared with market forecasts of between £270m and £295m. JD Sports has maintained like-for-like growth despite tough comparatives and seen additional sales through the material growth in online trade and continuing overseas space expansion. The group’s shares were up by more than 8.1%.

Provident Financial’s shares slumped after it warned that its consumer credit division would report a pre-exceptional loss of around £120m. The group has been attempting to woo back home credit customers who were lost when a new operating model was introduced in July but this ‘reconnection’ was lower than expected in the fourth quarter. This was always likely to be difficult as other providers were quick to move in to Provident Financial’s territory. The group’s shares were down by over 4.8%.

“Gift packaging and greetings card group IG Design led AIM after upgrading its full year guidance following strong trading up to and throughout the Christmas period. All regions are on track to achieve year on year revenue and profit growth and the group’s future prospects have also been bolstered by US tax reforms with earnings per share set to benefit from the 2019 financial year and beyond. IG Design’s shares were up by more than 4.7%.”

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