- Plumbing company Ferguson said it could not confirm that it would meet its profit outlook for the year following the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The downbeat guidance came as the company reported a fall in profit amid weaker performance in its businesses across the UK and Canada.

For the six months ended 31 Janurary, pre-tax profit fell 5.7% to $640m, even as revenue increased 1.1% to $11bn.

The company reported 5% growth in the US, but revenue in Canada and the UK fell 6.5% and 4.7%, respectively.

In Canada the fall in revenue was blamed on ongoing market challenges throughout the year, including inflation of about 2%.

'Given the strength of our first half results, we had intended to confirm our full-year trading profit outlook for 2020,' Ferguson said. 'However, due to the dynamic situation unfolding with COVID-19 it is too early to understand its impact on current trading.'

At 8:06am: [LON:FERG] Ferguson PLC share price was +293p at 5473p

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