Ago 30, 2017

FTSE firms as financials, ITV rise

Britain's top share index rose on Wednesday, recovering some of the previous session's losses as financials firmed and media stock ITV (ITV.L) crept higher.


The blue chip FTSE 100 .FTSE index was up 0.4 percent at 7,363.59 points by 0853 GMT, while mid caps gained 0.5 percent.

Financials added the most points to the sector, with HSBC (HSBA.L), Barclays (BARC.L) and Standard Chartered (STAN.L) all up between 0.2 to 1.3 percent.

Banking stocks were hit particularly hard in the previous session as risky assets slid on geopolitical worries after North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan on Tuesday.

"The FTSE 100 has actually held up quite well if you compare it to its European counterparts," Jonathan Roy, advisory investment manager at Charles Hanover Investments, said.

"That's got something to do with ... the weaker pound and the higher weighting towards commodities, because we've seen a continued rally in commodities across the world," Roy added.

Energy stocks and the materials sectors fell back a little on the day, however, with precious metals miners Randgold Resources (RRS.L) and Fresnillo (FRES.L) taking a breather following Tuesday's strong gains, when safe haven assets had been in demand.

Randgold Resources declined 0.8 percent on the day, among the biggest FTSE fallers, while Fresnillo inched 0.6 percent lower.

While the rally was broad-based, with Ashtead (AHT.L) and Sainsbury's (SBRY.L) among the biggest gainers, ITV's (ITV.L) shares topped the index with a 4.8 percent rise, regaining almost all of the previous session's lost ground.

ITV ended Tuesday with a loss of nearly 5 percent, caught up in a wider sell-off within the European media .SXMP sector after German peer ProSiebenSat.1 (PSMGn.DE) slumped after cutting its outlook for TV advertising.

However, a more positive set of results from RTL Group (RRTL.DE) boosted the sector on Wednesday, in turn lifting shares in ITV.

Outside of the blue chips earnings sparked some sizeable moves, with shares in industrial machinery group Diploma (DPLM.L) jumping 6.3 percent after the firm issued a trading statement for the third quarter.

Numis also upgraded Diploma to "add" from "hold", saying that they expected revenue growth to track a little ahead of their estimates while the shares have retreated over the past three months.

Shares in small cap equipment hire group HSS Hire (HSS.L) plummeted as much as 23 percent, however, after reporting half year earnings.

"This update reinforces our concerns with respect to the group's financial position, and believe that its financial leverage will limit its ability to support sufficient fleet growth to deliver sufficient core rental growth to deliver on its strategic ambitions," analysts at Liberum said in a note, reiterating their "sell" rating on HSS Hire.


by Kit Rees