LONDON MARKET OPEN: CFD Providers Fall After Plus500 Profit Warning

LONDON (Alliance News) - Stock prices in London opened mixed on Tuesday with bookmakers leading ...

Alliance News 12 February, 2019 | 8:49AM
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LONDON (Alliance News) - Stock prices in London opened mixed on Tuesday with bookmakers leading the FTSE 100, while Plus500 weighed on the FTSE 250 after warning that tighter regulation will dent 2019 earnings.

The FTSE 100 index was up 24.10 points, or 0.3%, at 7,153.21 in early trade. The FTSE 250 was 19.07 points lower, or 0.4%, at 18,812.71. The AIM All-Share was up 0.1% at 906.57.

The Cboe UK 100 was up 0.3% at 12,147.96, while the Cboe UK 250 was down 0.2% at 16,779.87. The Cboe UK Small Companies was up 0.1%, at 11,146.85.

Negotiators from the US and China are meeting this week in Beijing, with White House adviser Kellyanne Conway saying President Donald Trump wants to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping very soon. Two days of high-level talks starting Thursday will involve US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.

The Japanese Nikkei 225 index ended up 2.6%. Financial markets in Japan reopened after being closed for the National Foundation Day holiday on Monday.

In China, the Shanghai Composite closed up 0.7%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong ended flat.

"Asian equity markets are mostly up following positive indications on both US budget negotiations and trade talks between the US and China. In the US, Democrats and Republicans have reportedly reached an agreement to fund the government that will avoid a new shutdown after Friday," noted analysts at Lloyds.

On the London Stock Exchange, betting companies GVC Holdings, which owns bookmaker Ladbrokes, and Paddy Power Betfair were the best blue chip performers up 1.8% and 1.7% respectively.

"Bookmakers William Hill, Paddy Power Betfair and GVC will likely breathe a sigh of relief that UK horse-racing will resume Wednesday after a one week halt following a an outbreak of equine flu," commented Michael van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets.

Midcap bookmaker William Hill was up 1.9%.

At the other end of the large cap index, TUI was the worst performer, down 5.0% after the Anglo-German travel company reported a significantly widened first-quarter loss, having under a week ago warned on full-year earnings.

The firm's pretax loss for the three months to December was EUR135.0 million, widened from a EUR84.3 million loss for the same period a year prior. Revenue did increase, however, by 4.4% year-on-year to EUR3.70 billion.

This performance, TUI said, met expectations after a "record" last financial year. First quarter revenue, and volumes, have grown, but margins have slipped.

TUI noted a "challenging" market environment for traditional tour operators. Cruise line operator Carnival was down 0.9%.

In the FTSE 250, Big Yellow was up 2.0% after HSBC started coverage on the self-storage company with a Buy rating.

At the other end of the midcap index, Plus500 was down 38% after the contract-for-difference trading provider warned its profit in 2019 will be "materially lower" due to increased spending and new EU regulations.

For 2018, revenue rose 65% to USD720.4 million from USD437.2 million in 2017, while pretax profit of USD503 million almost doubled from USD253.4 million the year before.

Plus500 said it made a positive operational start to 2019 in terms of customer numbers and trading volumes. However, it said 2019 revenue is expected to be lower than current market expectations following its latest assessment of European Securities & Markets Authority regulatory measures.

The company also lowered its profit guidance due to the lower revenue and planned higher marketing spend, saying 2019 profit will be "materially lower than current market expectations".

Peers IG Group and CMC Markets were down 7.0% and 5.0%, respectively.

Elsewhere troubled department store chain Debenhams was up 40% after it secured an extension to its credit facilities and inked a sourcing partnership with Li & Fung, a Hong Kong-based supply chain manager primarily for US and EU retail chains.

Debenhams has agreed a new GBP40 million credit facility for 12 months with its existing lenders, it said. The new loan fully utilises permissions within the terms of the company's current revolving credit facility and loan notes. The stock was up 38%.

The pound was flat, quoted at USD1.2867 against USD1.2864 at the London equities close Monday.

In UK political news, a cabinet minister has insisted there is "no chance" of Theresa May accepting Labour's vision for leaving the EU, despite speculation she could soften her stance on customs union membership.

As May prepares to update MPs on the latest developments in the Brexit negotiations on Tuesday afternoon - a day earlier than expected - Andrea Leadsom dismissed the prospect of May adopting Jeremy Corbyn's "world view".

In an exclusive interview with the Press Association, the Commons leader insisted she would stay in the Cabinet to help May deliver Brexit and denied that the PM was softening her stance over a customs union in a letter to Corbyn.

May's reply sparked concern among Conservative Brexiteers that the PM could concede too much ground to Labour in an attempt to win cross-party backing for a deal with Brussels.

The economic events calendar Bank of England Governor Mark Carney will give a speech relating to "the latest developments in the global economy and risks to the outlook" in London at 1300 GMT. In addition, US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will deliver a speech titled "Economic Development in High Poverty Rural Communities" at the Hope Enterprise Corp Rural Policy Forum at 1745 GMT.

By Arvind Bhunjun; arvindbhunjun@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2019 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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Securities Mentioned in Article
Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar Rating
William Hill PLC 159.30 GBX 4.53 -
TUI AG 777.40 GBX 4.10 -
CMC Markets PLC 87.10 GBX 4.44 -
Plus500 Ltd 714.00 GBX 1.19 -
IG Group Holdings PLC 556.60 GBX 0.80 -
GVC Holdings PLC 579.60 GBX 2.29 -
Paddy Power Betfair PLC 6,488.00 GBX -0.34 -
Paddy Power Betfair PLC 71.16 -
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