FTSE inches ahead despite fresh trade fears

Writer, Stock Market Wire
Monday, November 18, 2019 - 16:45

UK stocks finished lower on Monday after a report stoked fresh fears about a resolution to the US-China trade dispute that has hit global growth. A headwind for the FTSE 100 was a strengthening of sterling with opinion polls pointing to a Conservative Party majority in the forthcoming election, although the blue chip benchmark's losses were cushioned by the prospect of more business-friendly policies under a Boris Johnson-led government.

At 16.35, the benchmark FTSE 100 index had inched up 4.76 points, or 0.065%, to 7,307.70.

LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Insurance group Aviva fell 5% to 412.5p on announcing that it had decided not to sell assets in Singapore and China, countering media speculation that such sales may be imminent.

Business software company Sage softened 1.8p to 735.8p as it agreed to sell its payments business to Elavon, a subsidiary of US Bancorp, for around £232m.

Technical products and services supplier Diploma advanced 4.6% to £17.80 on reporting a rise in annual profit, underpinned by acquisitions and cost cutting.

Automotive fluid systems manufacturer TI Fluid Systems reversed 2.1% to 213.5p after it appointed Ronald Hundzinski as its new chief financial officer.

Hundzinski would be joining from Tenneco, where he was executive vice president - finance.

Biotechnology company PureTech Health sparked up 16% to 254p after affiliate Karuna reported positive study results for its schizophrenia treatment, KarXT.

Wafer product supplier to the semiconductor sector IQE sank 22.8% to 50.85p as it warned on profits.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Healthcare company Consort Medical jumped 43.25% to £10.40 after it agreed to be taken over by Sweden's Recipharm for £10.10 per share, or about £505m.

Security services group Westminster rallied 14.4% to 12.35p after it confirmed media reports that talks between Meridian Port Services and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority were close to being finalised, potentially advancing a contract for the company.

Pawnbroker H&T slumped 16.7% to 310p on news it is working closely with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) following a review of its high-cost short-term credit business. This is in light of the changes to the consumer credit rules regarding affordability. H&T has ceased providing such credit whilst the FCA case continues and stresses that the business represents less than 4% of revenues.

Touchstone Exploration jumped 15.2% to 13.25p after it recorded positive flow test results from a recent well drilled in Trinidad and Tobago.

Shanta Gold cheapened 1.8% to 8.25p despite increasing the estimated mineral resource at its New Luika gold mine in Tanzania following completion of a drilling campaign.

Savannah Resources added 4.5% to trade at 2.33p after its Mutamba mineral sands joint venture in Mozambique with Rio Tinto was awarded a third mining concession from local authorities.