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Coronavirus continues to plague FTSE 100

By BFN News | 09:18 AM | Thursday 27 February, 2020


The continued spread of coronavirus has once again caused the FTSE 100 to tumble in early morning trading, falling 2.6% to 6,861. A number of the UK's top 100 companies are reporting results today, but few in the index are seeing an uplift in their share price. Strong innovation and digital performance pushed Rentokil's revenue growth up 10.8% in 2019, according to its full year results. Ongoing revenue at the pest control firm were up 8.6%, while organic revenue grew 4.5% during the 12 months to December 31, 2019. In spite of the positive results, the company's share price was down slightly this morning at 493.7p. Advertising giant WPP reported a fall in like for like sales of 1%. Revenue for the year to December 31, 2019, was up 1.4% to £13.23bn, but the firm's headline profit before interest and tax was down 5.8% to £1.62bn. Mark Read, chief executive officer at WPP, said the company has met its guidance for 2019, with the year forming the foundation for the new WPP strategy. Its shares were down 15.3% at 770p. Lender Amigo reported a fall in profit as revenue was hurt by higher impairments amid challenges in its collections business. For the nine-month period ended 31 December 2019, pre-tax profit fell to £53,5m from £79m on-year as revenue increased 8.5% o £218m, with the net loan book increasing 3.8% to £722.3m. Total full year net revenue for Reckitt Benckiser reached £12,846m in 2019, with growth of 0.8% on a like for like basis. Its share price plummeted just over 6% as a result, dropping to 51.2p. RSA Insurance Group saw an increase in its total underwriting profit of £229m in 2019, according to its preliminary results. The group's underlying earnings per share reached 44.5p, while return of tangible equity stood at 16% for the period. In early morning trading, RSA's share price rose 1.7% to 541.4p. Elsewhere, luxury carmaker Aston Martin said it expected earnings to be second-half weighted amid a proposal to raise £500m to 'reset' the business via deeply-discounted rights issue after reporting wider annual losses. The company also announced that Mark Wilson would step down as chief financial officer and it would continue press on with its plan to turnaround performance, with plans to raise cash via a deeply-discounted 14-to-25 rights issue. Following the announcement, the share price fell 13.8% to 334.7p. Meanwhile, British American Tobacco reported lower annual profit on volume declines and legal and restructuring charges. The tobacco giant also said performance of revenue in its 'new categories' division, which included vaping products, would be second-half weighed following a regulatory clampdown in the US. For the year ended 31 December, pre-tax profit fell to £7.9m from £8.3m and revenue increased 5.7% to £25.9bn as lower volumes held back growth. Its share price nudged higher early on, reaching £32.23. Finncap warned of weaker second-half performance in its mergers and acquisitions division amid slower-than-expected deal activity, while its equity market division was expected to deliver performance in line with that recorded in the first half of the financial year. Finally, the chief executive of Persimmon, David Jenkinson, has confirmed he will be stepping down from his role 'in due course'. The news comes as Persimmon revealed a drop in 2019 profits. Pre-tax profits in 2019 fell 4.5% to £1.04bn and its underlying housing operating margin dropped from 30.8% in 2018 to 30.3% in 2019. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

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