Markets

FTSE 100 rises but investors desert Marks & Spencer

London's equities follow Wall Street and Asian stocks higher on Wednesday
Marks & Spencer clothing models
M&S said a turnaround of its ailing clothing arm would take time and hit profits

The FTSE 100 Index opened in high spirits but share shoppers deserted Marks & Spencer after it said a shake-up would hit profits.

The top-flight index climbed 39.39 points to 6258 while its smaller siblings were also in positive territory. The FTSE AIM 100 was up 8.4 points and the FTSE AIM All-Share gained a point.

Markets took their cue from news that Eurozone finance ministers had approved a much-needed €10.3bn in Greek bailout funds.

But M&S (LON:MKS) was leading the fallers after the group said a turnaround of its ailing clothing arm would take time and cost money, at least in the short term.

Investors ignored the retailer’s “get back to basics” revival plan for the division, sending its shares down 35.6p, or 8%, to 409.1p.

Another big loser was technology firm Intertek Group (LON:ITRK), dropping nearly 3.4% to 3186p after a number of brokers updated their price targets yesterday.

But Dixons Carphone PLC (LON:DC) sparked over 2% to 458p after reporting higher revenues and predicting profits at the top end of forecasts.

Among small-caps, investors built stakes in Sweett Group PLC (LON:CSG) by 11.5p, or 50%, to 34.5p as WSP Global Inc made a £24mln takeover bid for the construction consultancy.

Independent Resources plc (LON:IRG) ticked up nearly 43% to 0.075p as it more than halved its debt, by £305,000 to £230,000.

The company is developing a major oil prospect in Tunisia and a big underground gas storage scheme in north-east Italy.

Shares in oil and gas explorer Petrel Resources PLC (LON:PET) also lifted 8.8% to 4.63p on news that it expects Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WOPEY) to start a 3D seismic survey of Frontier exploration licence 3/14 in the Irish Atlantic in just over a month’s time.

But Judges Scientific PLC (LON:JDG) lost nearly a fifth of its value, down 357.5p at 1460p, as the designer of scientific instruments warned on first-half profits.

And Anglo Asian Mining Plc (LON:AAZ) was almost 11% off the pace at 10.25p after reporting gold sales in 2015 completed at lower average prices than in 2014. Silver production also fell.


Preview at 6.52am

FTSE 100 seen higher ahead of Wednesday’s open

London’s FTSE 100 is expected to start Wednesday in plus territory, as traders follow positive equities markets in the US and Asia.

Tuesday marked Wall Street’s best trading day for about two months as technology stocks drove benchmarks higher.

The Dow Jones climbed 213 points, 1.22%, to 17,706. The S&P 500 gained 1.37% and the Nasdaq added 2% to 4,861.

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced some 2.6% to around 20,340 while the Shanghai Composite edged only marginally higher. Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.65% to 16,772.

Australia’s ASX 200 moved 85 points, 1.62%, higher to 5,381.

Crude oil prices continue to tease the US$50 marker. On Wednesday morning Brent crude was 1.7% higher at US$49.18 while West Texas Intermediary was up 2.4% at US$49.28. Elsewhere, gold was changing hands at US$1,225 an ounce.

In London, spreadbetter and CFD provider IG Markets sees the FTSE 100 around 40 points higher this morning. It is calling the blue chip benchmark at 6,270 to 6,275 about an hour before the start of trading.

In focus: €10bn bailout unlocked for Greece. The latest tranche of bail out funds are being released after the country put through a further wave of austerity.

In focus: A British ‘institution’ that was most successful in the 1990s is reportedly getting a new Portuguese boss – but this isn’t yet another Jose Mourinho to Manchester United story. A new consortium backed by Portuguese money is the latest suitor in the frame for BHS.

Announcements

Finals: Babcock International; Great Portland; Marks and Spencer; Mediclinic International; Pennon; Wizz Air.

Interims: Shaftesbury; Zoopla.

First quarter results: HSS Hire.

Trading statements: Hilton Food Group; Intertek.

AGM: Alliance Pharma; e-Therapeutics; Paysafe; Polypipe; SQS; Travis Perkins


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