- The FTSE 100 was gathering some momentum by lunchtime on Thursday as speculation over the prospect of a 'soft' Brexit started to fizzle out. This in turn put sterling back on the defensive. At 7,744,55, up around 0.13%, the index is creeping towards new record highs.

A weak pound is generally seen as positive for the FTSE as it increases the relative value of its overseas earnings.


Ocado (OCDO) was the strongest performer, soaring 63% to 899.8p after signing a partnership agreement with Kroger, under which Ocado's technology will be used in the US exclusively by Kroger for grocery and other food distribution related activities.

Wincanton (WIN), a provider of supply chain solutions, increased its revenue by 4.8% to £1.2bn in the year ended 31 March 2018, driven by contract wins with IKEA, Hanson, wilko and Wickes, driving its share price 3.8% higher to 276p.

Experian (EXPN) gained 4.8% to 17. 91 on news it will execute a $400m share buyback programme despite reporting a 7% fall in profit before tax for the year to end of March.

Meanwhile, bookmaker William Hill (WMH) gained 2.8% to 326.5p despite warning annualised adjusted operating profit in its retail division could be reduced by £70m to £100m as a result of a decision by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to reduce the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals from £100 to £2.

Paddy Power Betfair (PPB), which said the impact in 2017 would have amounted to between 2% and 2.6% of revenue, was up 1.5% to £83.75.

GVC (GVC), which completed the acquisition of Ladbrokes Coral in March, said it expected a £160m hit to earnings in the first full year of the year. It moved up 1.04% to 925p. Hill & Smith (HILS) maintained its outlook for the year despite reporting lower revenue and operating profit for the first four months of the year compared to the prior year as the strength of sterling and weaker performance in the UK weighed. Its shares fell 7.8% to £13.56 as investors focused on the weak trading.

Thomas Cook (TCG) fell 2.9% to 141.8p despite improving its seasonal underlying EBIT loss by £13 million in the six months to 31 March, reflecting a strong airline performance. Revenues grew by 5% to £3,227 million, driven by growth to Egypt and long-haul destinations.

Royal Mail (RMG) also failed to impress, with its shares falling 5.9% to 562.8p after reporting its revenue grew by 2% on an underlying basis to £10.2 billion in the year ended 25 March 2018, driven by UKPIL and GLS parcels growth.

Commercial property investor British Land (BLND) advanced 2.8% to 700.8p as despite a small dip in underlying profits for its full year, its net asset value per share is ahead by 5.7% to 967p. The company is also pushing into the build to rent market aimed at professional investors as opposed to individual landlords, a sector that has grown in recent years.


Baby and children's goods retailer Mothecare (MTC) gained 23.7% to 26.35p on announcing a major restructuring and a refinancing plan which will provide funding of up to £113.5m. It is hoped these measures will help the company to return to a 'more stable footing and drive it towards a viable and sustainable future'.

Estate agent Foxtons (FOXT) moved 3.1% higher to 72.6p as it noted conditions in the London property market 'remain very challenging'. The company's sales volumes are lower than the previous year it says in today's statement although the market was clearly relieved the news wasn't worse.

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