StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks fell on Thursday as political uncertainty and ex-dividends dragged the index back from its highs earlier in the week.

The dwindling prospect of a no-deal Brexit following the prime minister's defeat by Parliament sent the pound to its highest level in a month, which in turn sent the FTSE 100 index down 0.6% to 7,267 points at the close.

Most of the stocks in the top 100 index generate the bulk of their earnings overseas, meaning that it tends to rise when the pound falls and vice versa.

LARGE- & MID-CAP MOVERS

Top gainer on the main index was aerospace firm Melrose Industries which finished at a high for the day up 8.2% to 200.7p. Investors applauded the raised dividend and the fact that the firm expected its results for the full year to be 'in line' with expectations.

Fast-fashion retailer Boohoo was the mid-cap star of the show surging 15% to a new all-time high of 280p after it lifted its full year sales guidance following a better-than-expected performance in the first half of the year.

House-builder Redrow added 3.5% to 586p as it registered a 10% increase in annual revenue and record profits on the back of an increase in completed new homes. It also said it was confident about its 2020 prospects even as it remained cautious about the post-Brexit future and increased the full year dividend.

Hiscox edged 0.5% higher to £15.61 after it said it had appointed Joanne Musselle as its new chief underwriting officer.

Dixons Carphone added 1.4% to 115.5p after reporting flat like-for-like sales in its fiscal first quarter as falling mobile market revenues kept a lid on growth.

William Hill rose 0.6% to 181p after it announced that current CEO and company director Philip Bowcock would step down with effect from 30th September and be replaced by digital expert Ulrik Bengtsson.

Ultra Electronics slipped 1.8% to £22.12, reversing earlier gains after it announced that current group finance director and board member Ami Sharma would step down with effect from 1st December 2019 and be replaced by Jos Sclater, current CFO of Castrol Lubricants.

SMALL-CAP WINNERS & LOSERS

Specialist media platform Future jumped 9.2% to £13.02 after it said full-year core earnings were now expected to be 'materially ahead' of expectations following stronger-than-expected growth in core operations in the final quarter for the year.

Filtration and environmental technologies group Porvair increased 5.3% to 596p after it said it had acquired 100% of Dutch industrial filtration business Royal Dahlman for a cash consideration of €7.75m.

Transport operator Go-Ahead added 2.8% to £22.08, despite reporting annual profits down by a third, as results in its bus and rail division came in 'slightly' better than expected.

Ceres Power gained 2.4% to 190p as it said it had developed a first prototype range extender for Chinese electric buses with Weichai Power.

Animal genetics company Genus climbed 1.3% to £27.76 after it said annual profit rose by more than a quarter despite the challenging environment in China caused by the rapid spread of African Swine Fever.

Automotive retailer Vertu Motors gained 0.9% to 34.5p after it said it had seen a continuation of the market trends it set out in its July update, including increasing price stability in the general used vehicle market since that time.

Closed-end investment company Tritax EuroBox added 0.4% to 94p after it said it had completed a lease re-gear at its Bornem logistics facility in Belgium to Alcon-Couvreur, a global leading eye care company.

International hospitality real estate company PPHE Hotel Group fell 0.6% to £17.30 even as it saw half-year revenue and earnings increase on the back of 'solid' operating performance from its UK hotel portfolio and said it still expected full-year performance to be in line with expectations.

Personalised products marketplace Altitude ended the day just off its lows but still lost 40% to 55.5p after it warned that revenues for the second half of the year would miss expectations.




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