FTSE back above 7,200 amid Brexit calm

Writer, Stock Market Wire
Friday, March 15, 2019 - 11:57

After a week of high drama over Brexit, the FTSE 100 took advantage of some relative calm to trade up 0.6% to 7,229.53.

Other European stocks were also higher and US futures pointed to gains on Wall Street amid renewed hopes for a trade deal between the US and China.

LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Pub owner JD Wetherspoon ticked up 0.9%, despite reporting an expected fall in first-half profit, after its sales in the six weeks to 10 March jumped 9.6%, helped by 'excellent weather'.

Restaurant Group rallied 7.9% after it also revealed a recent sales boost. Annual profit slumped 51% owing to write-downs and expenses for acquiring Wagamama. But like-for-like sales rose 2.8% in the 10 weeks to 10 March.

Another pub company, Ei Group, was also on the rise, advancing 3.2% to 207.5p after it launched an up to £35m share buyback.

High-end housebuilder Berkeley gained 1.7% to £39.72 as it reiterated its previously upgraded guidance for 8% growth in annual profit.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Recruitment group SThree advanced 2.4% after it boosted gross profit by 9% in the first quarter on-year, driven by strong growth in contract employment.

Proton Power Systems jumped 11% on revealing that it had agreed to form a venture in the Czech Republic with Skoda Electric to develop fuel cell electric buses.

Software company Oxford Metrics gained 5.2% to 87.3p on news that its motion measurement unit Vicon had signed a contract with Sandbox VR.

Symphony Environmental Technologies gained 25.2% to 7.2p, despite posting a fall in annual profit, as it increased R&D investment in its biodegradable plastics technology.

Content producer Zinc Media Group slumped 14% as its annual losses deepened.

Oil explorer Bahamas Petroleum fell by 30% to 1.78p as it announced a $2.5m fundraise by issuing new shares at 1.6p to keep it ticking over while it looks to secure a partner to drill a well off the coast of The Bahamas.