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LONDON MARKET OPEN: Fresnillo, Johnson Matthey Help Pull FTSE 100 Down

(Alliance News) - Stocks began the day lower in London on Wednesday, with Fresnillo and Johnson ...

Alliance News 17 July, 2019 | 8:35AM
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(Alliance News) - Stocks began the day lower in London on Wednesday, with Fresnillo and Johnson Matthey failing to please investors, though there were a number of risers in the mid-cap index after positive trading updates.

The FTSE 100 was down 9.89 points, or 0.1%, at 7,567.31.

The FTSE 250 was 13.47 points lower, or 0.1%, at 19,642.58 and the AIM All-Share was also down 0.1% at 918.70.

The Cboe UK 100 index was losing out 0.1% at 12,832.59. The Cboe UK 250 was likewise 0.1% lower at 16,515.16, but the Cboe UK Small Companies was up 0.1% at 11,183.61.

In mainland Europe, the CAC 40 index in Paris and DAX 30 in Frankfurt were marginally higher and down 0.1%, respectively.

In the FTSE 100, large-cap gold miner Fresnillo fell 2.3% after it cut 2019 guidance due to lower grades at its namesake Fresnillo mine in Mexico and leaching pad delays at Herradura.

It now sees 2019 gold output at 880,000 to 910,000 ounces from 910,000 ounces to 930,000 ounces before, and silver guidance has been lowered to 55 million to 58 million ounces from 58 million ounces to 61 million ounces before.

Fresnillo's second-quarter gold production rose 4.8% on the prior quarter to 221,307 ounces, but fell 5.4% on the year before, with first-half gold output down 7.1% year-on-year to 432,417 ounces.

For silver, second-quarter output rose 9.7% to 14.1 million ounces, but fell 6.0% on the year, with first-half production down 10% on the year prior to 27.6 million ounces.

Chemicals firm Johnson Matthey was 3.0% lower as it reported flat first-quarter sales at constant currency, with growth in Clean Air offset by sales falls in Efficient Natural Resources and Health.

However, Johnson Matthey has held guidance for its full financial year ending March 2020, with performance still set to be weighted to the second half. Growth in operating performance, it said, will be in the mid-to-high single digits.

The company also said John Walker, executive director and head of Clean Air, will be stepping down in March next year. He will be succeeded by Tate & Lyle executive Joan Braca.

Software firm Micro Focus was 1.6% lower after Goldman Sachs cut its rating to Sell from Neutral. Jefferies cut fashion house Burberry to Underperform from Hold, but the stock was up 1.4% after Tuesday's strong trading update.

In the FTSE 250, TalkTalk Telecom was up 2.7% as it reported a 1.3% rise in total headline revenue for the three months to June, reaching GBP387 million, with headline on-net revenue rising 2.6%.

The first quarter of TalkTalk's financial year went to plan, the company said, and it has reiterated all full-year guidance, seeing "strong" earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation growth.

Housebuilder Galliford Try was 4.0% higher, saying pretax profit for its year ended June should meet analyst expectations of between GBP112.7 million to GBP116.4 million.

Linden Homes has performed well, Galliford continued, with margins strong, while Partnerships & Regeneration has also had a strong year with "excellent" progress made.

The restructuring of the Construction unit is now complete, and GBP40 million of previously announced costs will be booked in the full year.

Bookmaker GVC Holdings climbed 0.7% as it reported "very strong" second quarter Online net gaming revenue growth of 16%, despite the year-on-year comparative having the football World Cup.

For the three months to June, UK retail like-for-like net gaming revenue slumped 19%, however, due to the new GBP2 stake limit of fixed-odds betting machines. This is better than initial guidance however, GVC said.

For the second quarter overall, GVC's net gaming revenue grew 3%, and in the first half, it grew 5%.

Losing out in the FTSE 250 was Hochschild Mining, down 3.2%, as Berenberg initiated the gold miner with a Sell rating.

Premier Oil was down 3.0% despite reporting a "strong" first half, with production rising 11% year-on-year to 84,100 barrels of oil equivalent per day on average. It is on track for 2019 guidance of 75,000 barrels to 80,000 barrels a day.

Free cash flow was USD180 million, helping it reduce net debt, while it has reduced operational expenditure guidance but held capital expenditure guidance.

Elsewhere, pharmaceutical firm Vectura Group climbed 2.9% as it approved a GBP50 million cash return to shareholders, while product supply revenue for the first half of 2019 will beat management expectations.

The return comes due to a "strong cash balance", Vectura said, and the company has maintained all guidance and outlook for 2019.

Elsewhere, US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said the two sides were still a long way from a trade deal and that he still could impose higher tariffs on Chinese imports if he did not get his way.

His remarks, hitting out at what he says is a lack of follow-through from Beijing on promises to buy more farm goods, came just as high-level talks were due to take place this week, though a face-to-face meeting has still not been agreed.

There had been hopes of some sort of progress after Trump and Xi Jinping agreed at the G20 last month to restart talks.

"President Trump reminded investors just how fragile and uneasy the post-G-20 trade war truce when he reiterated he could impose additional tariffs as the US becomes increasingly frustrated by the lack of follow-through on China's G-20 pledge to purchase more US agricultural products in exchange for the loosening of the US ban on Huawei," said Stephen Innes at Vanguard Markets.

"It seems we are in this never-ending cycle of one step forward and two steps back as any sign of progress are met with a hardened position from China which is making investors pessimistic that the list of soft-pedal commitment can even get agreed. Indeed, resolving the G-20 concessions is getting bleaker by the day as traders are slowly shifting back to a queasy, uneasy trade war mode."

In the US on Tuesday, Wall Street ended lower, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing down 0.1%, the S&P 500 down 0.3%, and the Nasdaq Composite 0.4% lower.

On Wednesday in the US, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, streaming service Netflix, IT consultant IBM, and computer software company Microsoft all release second-quarter results.

The Japanese Nikkei 225 index closed 0.3% lower on Wednesday. In China, the Shanghai Composite ended down 0.2%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong is 0.2% lower late on.

To come in the economic calendar on Wednesday is EU harmonised consumer prices at 1000 BST, as well as UK CPI, producer prices, and the housing price index at 0930 BST.

The pound was quoted at USD1.2397, down slightly from USD1.2408 at the close Tuesday, with fears over a no-deal Brexit weighing on sterling so far this week.

By George Collard; georgecollard@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2019 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar
Rating
Galliford Try PLC 673.50 GBX 0.60 -
Premier Oil PLC 86.28 GBX -2.11 -
TalkTalk Telecom Group PLC 104.30 GBX -1.32 -
Burberry Group PLC 2,172.00 GBX -1.41
Johnson Matthey PLC 3,037.00 GBX -2.03
Fresnillo PLC 725.80 GBX 1.17 -
Micro Focus International PLC 1,143.80 GBX -2.31 -
Vectura Group PLC 85.70 GBX 0.23 -
GVC Holdings PLC 719.40 GBX -1.10 -
Severn Trent PLC 2,070.00 GBX 0.10 -
Hochschild Mining PLC 213.40 GBX 1.33 -

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Alliance News

Alliance News provides Morningstar with continuously updating coverage of news affecting listed companies.

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