|CATEGORY: MARKET REPORT - MIDDAY
Tue 22 Aug 2017
LONDON (SHARECAST) - (ShareCast News) - London stocks were holding on to solid gains by midday, helped along by a weaker pound and well-received results from the likes of Persimmon and BHP Billiton, although subprime lender Provident Financial nosedived after another profit warning.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.7% to 7,366.56, while the pound was down 0.6% against the dollar at 1.2826 despite a surprise surplus in UK public borrowing in July.
Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: "With little news on the key US fronts - North Korea, the status of economic advisor Gary Cohn - the greenback saw no reason to not to rebound, climbing half a percent against both the pound and the euro."
However, Campbell said it wasn't all due to dollar strength, with sterling suffering from a renewal of "semi-persistent Brexit fears".
UK public sector borrowing produced a first July surplus in 15 years thanks to a one-off jump in self-assessment tax receipts.
Public sector net borrowing excluding government stakes in banking groups moved to a £0.18bn surplus compared to a deficit of £0.31bn in July last year and a consensus forecast for a £1.0bn deficit. This follows a deficit the previous month that was revised to £6.2bn deficit from a previously reported £6.9bn.
Elsewhere, the Confederation of British Industry's monthly industrial order book balance rose to +13 in August from +10 the month before, beating expectations for a reading of +8.
In corporate news, shares in FTSE 100 subprime lender Provident Financial tumbled 74% as it issued its second profit warning in two months and announced the resignation of its chief executive and the withdrawal of its dividend as the rate of progress in the turnaround of the home credit business has been "too weak".
Wood Group pushed lower following weaker-than-expected first-half earnings.
Nevertheless, there were a number of bright spots on the corporate front helping to propel the blue chip benchmark higher.
Housebuilder Persimmon gained ground after it reported a 30% improvement in its profit before tax in the six months to 30 June on Tuesday, to £457.4m.
BHP Billiton rallied as it said it swung back to a profit for the full year and upped its final dividend, while Antofagasta advanced after posting a jump in earnings for the first half as revenues rose amid higher copper prices.
Cairn Energy edged higher after giving an updated estimate on its oil resources, while Petrofac reversed earlier losses to trade up after announcing the sale of its 50% stake in the Panuco oil field in Mexico to Schlumberger.
UK supermarkets were in focus as the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel revealed the big four enjoying their strongest run in four years and that discounter Lidl stepped up to become the seventh largest grocer in the country. Tesco was the standout gainer on the FTSE as it came out way ahead in terms of market share at 27.8%, although this was down a touch from 28.1% a year ago.
Meanwhile, Morrisons was higher as it grew sales by 2.6% but saw its share drop to 10.4% from 10.5 and Sainsbury's slipped as it saw a 2% sales boost but its share shrank to 15.7% from 13.1%.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,366.56 0.65%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,718.86 0.37%
techMARK (TASX) 3,372.44 0.48%
FTSE 100 - Risers
Tesco (TSCO) 183.35p 3.62%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,405.50p 2.89%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 981.00p 2.78%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,542.50p 2.52%
Shire Plc (SHP) 3,689.50p 2.12%
Kingfisher (KGF) 299.50p 1.87%
WPP (WPP) 1,588.00p 1.73%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 248.70p 1.63%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,783.00p 1.60%
Whitbread (WTB) 3,852.00p 1.56%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Provident Financial (PFG) 500.00p -71.35%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 3,864.00p -1.23%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 282.80p -0.98%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 611.00p -0.89%
Imperial Brands (IMB) 3,177.50p -0.55%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 236.30p -0.55%
G4S (GFS) 294.30p -0.54%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 254.00p -0.47%
ITV (ITV) 166.20p -0.42%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,987.00p -0.25%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 764.50p 4.51%
Marshalls (MSLH) 422.00p 4.40%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 180.20p 3.62%
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 278.70p 3.57%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 287.80p 3.27%
Halfords Group (HFD) 324.20p 2.66%
Booker Group (BOK) 200.40p 2.51%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 160.90p 2.35%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 243.80p 2.01%
Evraz (EVR) 266.00p 1.99%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
AA (AA.) 176.30p -4.96%
Carillion (CLLN) 48.91p -2.28%
Virgin Money Holdings (UK) (VM.) 262.50p -2.05%
OneSavings Bank (OSB) 387.50p -1.90%
Stagecoach Group (SGC) 175.40p -1.85%
TBC Bank Group (TBCG) 1,572.00p -1.75%
Syncona Limited NPV (SYNC) 160.00p -1.66%
Greencore Group (GNC) 214.90p -1.47%
Rank Group (RNK) 230.30p -1.45%
Perpetual Income & Growth Inv Trust (PLI) 380.90p -1.45%