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FTSE rally fizzles out at midday as Fed nerves kick in

By BFN News | 12:31 PM | Wednesday 10 June, 2020

UK markets saw their firm start to Wednesday fade as investor nerves kicked in ahead of upcoming comment from the US Fed. The US Federal Reserve is due to make its first economic projections since the Covid-19 pandemic set off a recession in February, and while the Fed is not expected to change rates, comments by chairman Jerome Powell will be watched closely by investors keen to assess his read on recent economic data, including a surprise improvement in employment figures. The usual suspects of travel, leisure, engineering led the FTSE 100 loser board on Wednesday, Melrose is the biggest faller, down close to 7% to 124.78p, while non-banking financials provided some counterweight to market falls. London Stock Exchange topped the blue-chip gainers, up nearly 4% at £81.24. At midday, the benchmark FTSE 100 was 0.2% off at 6,322.81, with the FTSE 250 mid cap down 0.5 at 17,667.90. COMPANIES MOVING Fashion retailer Quiz jumped 17% to 7.94p on announcing that it had appointed administrators to its physical store portfolio in the UK and Spain, citing Covid-19 lockdowns and shift in shopping habits towards online channels. Wagamama owner Restaurant Group rallied 3% to 72.8p as it confirmed it would close around 125 of its Frankie and Benny's restaurants and seek rent reductions on a remaining 160 sites in its leisure division. London West End property investor Shaftesbury lost earlier gains to fall 3.5% to 625p despite swinging to a first-half loss after the value of its properties slumped and the Covid-19 crisis hit rental income from its retail tenants. Real estate investor London Metric Property climbed 1.2% to 215.6p as it upped its dividend, after a rise in rental income helped boost its underlying earnings. Specialist lender Paragon Banking was down 2.3% to 336.6p even as it reported a 21% fall in first-half profit and scrapped its interim dividend, having been hurt by loan impairments related to the Covid-19 crisis. SMALLCAP WRAP Banknote authentication provider Spectra Systems sank 10% to 128p on announcing that it had been underbid by a competing company for a five-year Asian central bank contract. Iron castings and machining group Castings slipped 0.3% to 390p even as it recommended a dividend, while reporting a fall in profit as the Covid-19 pandemic pressured demand in the second half of the year. Digital performance analytics group XLMedia gained 6.5% to 23.96p, having kicked off a process to sell the majority of its Finnish-facing casino assets, along with certain other publishing sites. Photo booth and laundry services supplier Photo-Me International dropped 11% to 50.82p as it warned of a fall in annual profit owing to a slump in revenue and provisions blamed on the Covid-19 crisis. Wound care company Advanced Medical Solutions rose 1.2% to 255.5p as it reaffirmed its dividend, even as the Covid-19 impact was denting revenue by as much as 5% a month. At 12:31pm: (LON:LSE) London Stock Exchange Group PLC share price was +207p at 8045p (LON:MRO) Melrose Industries PLC share price was -10.02p at 123.48p (LON:QUIZ) Quiz Plc share price was +0.75p at 7.5p (LON:SHB) Shaftesbury PLC share price was -26.75p at 621.25p Story provided by

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