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London midday: Stocks down but off lows as investors eye Autumn Statement

09:50, 20th November 2023

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were off earlier lows but still in the red by midday on Monday, with Ashtead and Compass under the cosh after an update and results, as investors looked ahead to the Autumn Statement.
The FTSE 100 was down 0.1% at 7,497.02.

Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "There doesn't seem much motivation on Monday to reverse early losses on the FTSE 100. It's been on the back foot in early trade, despite a close in the green for Wall Street on Friday.

"The slight tick up in sterling may be part of the equation, given the effect on dollar denominated earnings of the raft of multinationals listed on the index. Focus for domestically orientated stocks is being trained on the UK Chancellor's Autumn Statement this week, with rumours swirling of an extension of fiscal incentives for companies, as well as mooted cuts to inheritance tax. However, he's slightly hampered in any big moves to use the tax system to stimulate short-term demand given the risks that could fuel inflation all over again."

Ahead of Hunt's Autumn Statement on Wednesday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a speech earlier that now that inflation has halved from record highs last year, attention can turn to "the next phase" and tax cuts.

Sunak said tax cuts will be implemented in a "serious, responsible way" but also that "we can't do everything all at once".

In equity markets, industrial equipment company Ashtead tumbled as it lowered full-year revenue and profit forecasts after a quieter hurricane season and the writers' and actors' strike in the US and revealed it would take a $2bn depreciation charge.

It now expects both group and US rental revenue growth in the range of 11% to 13%, down from previous guidance of 13% to 16% for both, which will result in core profit being 2- 3% below current market expectations.

Ashtead said that it also now expected a full-year depreciation charge of around $2.1bn a net interest cost of $540m, which will result in adjusted profit before tax being below current market expectations.

Catering giant Compass was also sharply lower as it hiked its final dividend by 27% as annual profits surged but revenues and earnings per share missed expectations.

Diploma rallied as the industrial supplier expressed confidence in current-year forecasts after a solid set of annual results, with adjusted operating profits growing by a quarter.

Halma gained after announcing the acquisition of TeDan - a US supplier of surgical instruments - for up to $100m (£81m).

Standard Chartered ticked up after an upgrade to 'buy' from 'neutral' at Goldman Sachs, while Currys was boosted by an upgrade to 'outperform' from 'sector perform' at RBC Capital Markets.

Outside the FTSE 350, MusicMagpie surged after confirming that it was in early-stage talks with both BT Group and private equity firm Aurelius Group about a possible bid for the company.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,497.02 -0.10%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 18,598.70 0.17%
techMARK (TASX) 4,101.70 0.20%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Diploma (DPLM) 3,292.00p 9.01%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 589.20p 5.10%
Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) 9,152.00p 2.37%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,598.00p 2.14%
Halma (HLMA) 2,090.00p 1.80%
Flutter Entertainment (CDI) (FLTR) 12,830.00p 1.06%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,393.00p 1.02%
Shell (SHEL) 2,634.50p 1.00%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 468.10p 0.95%
Admiral Group (ADM) 2,623.00p 0.92%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Ashtead Group (AHT) 4,620.00p -11.90%
Compass Group (CPG) 2,006.00p -4.11%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 251.50p -1.49%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 10,110.00p -1.46%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,347.00p -1.39%
Glencore (GLEN) 462.20p -1.17%
DCC (CDI) (DCC) 5,288.00p -1.12%
Endeavour Mining (EDV) 1,709.00p -1.04%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 718.60p -0.96%
St James's Place (STJ) 680.80p -0.96%

FTSE 250 - Risers

FDM Group (Holdings) (FDM) 416.00p 3.23%
Pacific Horizon Inv Trust (PHI) 554.00p 2.97%
Currys (CURY) 49.64p 2.69%
Dr. Martens (DOCS) 116.70p 2.64%
Helios Towers (HTWS) 76.75p 2.54%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 512.00p 2.48%
Ceres Power Holdings (CWR) 218.80p 2.43%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 230.80p 2.40%
Foresight Group Holdings Limited NPV (FSG) 415.00p 2.22%
Bank of Georgia Group (BGEO) 3,500.00p 2.19%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Sirius Real Estate Ltd. (SRE) 88.35p -3.28%
Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 163.45p -2.71%
Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited NPV (SONG) 73.50p -2.65%
Premier Foods (PFD) 131.20p -2.24%
Paragon Banking Group (PAG) 483.60p -2.22%
OSB Group (OSB) 379.60p -1.96%
Baltic Classifieds Group (BCG) 209.50p -1.87%
RHI Magnesita N.V. (DI) (RHIM) 2,708.00p -1.60%
Elementis (ELM) 123.80p -1.59%
Vietnam Enterprise Investments (DI) (VEIL) 560.00p -1.41%


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