StockMarketWire.com - London equities opened mixed as investors took pause after Wednesday's US President Donald Trump-drive run-up, with the blue-chip index tentatively advancing further into uncharted waters and the mid cap ladder slipping.

ConvaTec (CTEC), up 4.87% to 255.25p, said its FY revenues rose to $1,688m, up from $1,650m. Adjusted EBITDA increased to $508m, from $474m. It was followed by a string of banks including RBS (RBS), up 1.11% to 246.6p, and HSBC (HSBA), up 0.82% to 667.8p.

A short while after the open, FTSE 100 was up 8.02 points, or 0.11%, to 7390.92, continuing on from the all-time closing high it hit Wednesday. FTSE 250 eased 20.72, or 0.11%, to 18,692.3.

Blue-chip winners and losers were roughly evenly split, although most moves were muted. Other sectors improving included pharmaceuticals, oil and utilities, the latter against a backdrop of rising expectations of a US interest-rate rise in March.

Capita (CPI) was leading to the downside and lower 3.76% to 543.75p. It was taking decisive actions taken to improve performance after a disappointing FY. Underlying pre-tax profits fell 19% to £475.3m. Total dividend was steady at 31.7p.

Merlin Entertainments (MERL), down 2.89% to 482.95p, improved its FY pretax profit to £277m, form £259m, as it continued towards achieving its 2020 milestones. EBITDA was up at £451m, from £433m. Total dividend was flat at 7.1p a share.

Other top-100 stocks lower were laden with house builders. Barratt Developments (BDEV) was down 0.71% to 523.25p, while Taylor Wimpey (TW.) dropped 0.59% to 184.6p. Also lower were supermarkets after Tesco (TSCO), down 0.98% to 188.28p, and consumer goods.

Schroders (SDR), up 0.13% to 3130p posted a FY pre-tax profit of £618.1m, from £589.0m a year ago. Total dividend was 93p a share, from 87p. It had made good progress against its strategic objectives and saw a number of future growth opportunities.

At 8.43am, WTI crude was down 0.45% to $53.59/bbl and Brent was 0.28% lower at $56.20/bbl. Prices for gold, silver and copper were all lower.

BIGGER MOVERS

Plutus Powergen (PPG) fell 26.8% to 1.77p on stating proposed and "deeply flawed" alterations to the current system by Ofgem could cause significant harm to the UK's industrial sector, and in turn consumers, plus a sweep of distributed generators and energy storage developers.

Techfinancials (TECH) was up 23.33% to 9.25p as it announce a final dividend pay-out of $3m by subsidiary DragonFinancials. The company was expected to receive $1.53m, in line with its 51% holding in the subsidiary.

Sunrise Resources (SRES) gained 13.04% to 0.13p as it issued a positive update on testwork and details of a new development in the potential commercialisation of the CS Project.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Molins' (MLIN) shares shed 8.09% to 62.5p as it booked a FY statutory pretax loss of £0.8m, from a £2.0m profit. It said trading was not strong in 2016, but was pleased with a significantly higher order book as it entered 2017.

Melrose Industries' (MRO) shares firmed 12.3% to 245.38p as it reported FY results that beat market expectations. It swung to a FY pretax loss of £69.3m, from a loss of £30.7m. Revenue was significantly higher. It is already looking for another acquisition.

Travis Perkins (TPK), down 6.1% to 1469.5p, has reports a solid FY performance in mixed markets. Revenue rose 4.6% to £6.2bn, and like-for-like revenues were up 2.7%. Adjusted operating profit, excluding property profits, gained £3m to £392m. FY dividend was up 2.3% at 45.0p a share.

Spire Healthcare (SPI), up 5.01% to 345.7p, said its FY after-tax profit fell despite higher revenue for a period that it described as overall pleasing. After-tax profit was £53.6m, from £60.0m. Revenue was £926.4m, from £884.8m. Total dividend was 3.8p a share, from 3.7p.

Cobham (COB),m up 3.52% to 126.5p, has plans to raise £500m through a rights issue after posting a sharp fall in underlying profits for the year to end-December. Pretax loss was £847.9m, from £39.8m last time.

Arrow Global (ARW), up 2.29% to 306.88p, has reports a strong FY performance with total revenue up 42.6% to £235.9m. Adjusted EBITDA rose 36.7% to £209.2m and the group continued to see an increase in the income from asset management.

Gocompare.com (GOCO), down 2.14% to 96.88p, said its FY revenues rose 19.5% to £142.1m, while operating profit fell from £23.1m to £21.9m. Adjusted operating profit, excluding listing costs and Foundation Award share based payment charges, increased 29.9% from £23.1m to £30m.

Jimmy Choo (CHOO), up 0.95% to 159p, saw accelerating retail growth and margin expansion in the year to the end of December. Revenues rose to £364,0m, from £317.9m, and adjusted EBITDA grew 15.7% to £59.0m, driven by strong sales growth, margin improvement and lower growth in overheads.




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