Belfast Telegraph

FTSE 100 Index slips into the red as Dixons Carphone shares drop more than 6%

Electricals retailer Dixons Carphone took a hammering on the London market after warning investors that it was bracing for "more uncertain times".

The FTSE 100 Index slipped into the red, dropping 19.38 points to 6949.19, with Dixons Carphone topping the biggest fallers despite booking a 19% jump in half-year profits.

The group said that, while it had yet to see a knock to shopper confidence from the Brexit vote, it was planning for a more unsettled 2017 as EU exit negotiations loom large and amid cost pressures from the sharply weaker pound.

Shares were down more than 6%, or 24.1p to 342.6p, as the firm revealed that it buys around 90% of its products in sterling, but said it aims to offset any increase in the costs facing its manufacturers.

Dixons Carphone said underlying pre-tax profits rose nearly a fifth to £144 million for the six months to October 29 after notching up a 5% rise in like-for-like sales across the UK and Ireland.

In Europe, Germany's Dax was down 0.4% and the Cac 40 in France was 0.7% lower.

Across the Atlantic, US markets were on the back foot as they awaited the outcome of the US Federal Reserve's interest rate decision .

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite were 0.1% lower at European markets close, while the S&P 500 was down 0.2%.

The American central bank is widely expected to hike the cost of borrowing for the second time since the financial crisis.

Connor Campbell, financial analyst at SpreadEx, said: "At this point a rate hike is so expected that investors may be more focused on what kind of signs the Fed throws out in regards to its path in 2017 than on the immediate outcome of today's meeting.

"If the central bank doesn't increase rates, on the other hand, then the markets may well be in a state of shock tomorrow, though it could provide the Dow Jones with the final boost it needs to cross 20000."

On the currency markets, the pound pushed 0.4% higher against the US dollar to 1.270, while sterling was 0.2% up versus the euro at 1.192.

The UK currency was making headway against the greenback after the US dollar slipped ahead of the Fed's interest rate decision.

The price of oil eased back 1.2% to 55.08 US dollars a barrel amid fresh concerns about the global supply glut following a rise in US crude inventories.

In UK stocks, technology firm Micro Focus International raced ahead, with investors cheering a boost to revenue and profits.

Shares rose 4%, or 89p to 2219p, as revenues ticked up 14% to 684.7 million US dollars (£538.9 million) in the half year to the end of October.

Pre-tax profits also hit 113.2 million US dollars (£89.1 million) for the period, up from 98.8 million US dollars (£77.8 million) in 2015.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 Index were Polymetal International up 48.5p to 805.5p, Capita 24.5p to 476.9p, Micro Focus International up 89p to 2219p, Fresnillo up 40p to 1180p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 Index were Dixons Carphone down 24.1p to 342.6p, Barclays down 8.4p to 221.8p, International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) down 12.6p to 433.9p, Antofagasta down 17.5p to 721p.

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