Belfast Telegraph

FTSE 100 surges higher despite string of blue-chip profit warnings

London’s top flight closed 61.09 points higher at 7,351.08 at the end of trading on Thursday.

The FTSE 100 pushed higher despite a number of large firms falling on the back of profit warnings (PA)
The FTSE 100 pushed higher despite a number of large firms falling on the back of profit warnings (PA)

By PA City Staff

The FTSE 100 surged to an almost two-month high as commodities pushed the market higher, more than offsetting slumps by four major firms hit by profit warnings.

London’s top flight closed 61.09 points higher at 7,351.08 at the end of trading on Thursday.

The London markets jumped on trade optimism, despite heavy falls from blue-chip giants Imperial Brands, Pearson, IAG and Carnival.

Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, said: “Putting all the markets to shame was the FTSE, which let rip with a surge, leaving it near an eight-week peak.

“Keeping the FTSE buzzing was its commodity sector, obviously influenced by Trump’s trade deal rumours, alongside the continued misery of sterling.”

The FTSE 100’s heaviest faller was Pearson, which plummeted after the education publisher warned that students are turning to online and digital resources faster than bosses expected – hitting profits.

These are now expected to be at the bottom end of expectations between £590 million and £640 million.

It dragged shares lower, falling 120.8p to 740p at the close of play.

Elsehwere in shares, Imperial Brands tanked after it warned over a hit to annual sales, following President Donald Trump’s move to crack down on flavoured e-cigarettes and tighten regulation on vaping products.

Shares of the maker of Blu slumped more than 10% as it said it had seen a “marked” slowdown in the US vaping market in recent weeks

Shares in Imperial slid by 267.3p to 1,798.2p on Thursday.

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British Airways shares fell after it warned that it would face £121.5 million in extra costs due to pilot strikes (PA)

IAG, the owner of British Airways, also saw shares suffer after it revealed it took a 137 million euro (£121.5 million) hit from the 48-hour strike by pilots that saw 4,521 flights cancelled earlier this month.

The widespread disruption means IAG operating profits, before one-off items, will be 215 million euro (£195 million) lower than in 2018, bosses said. Shares slid 19.1p to 461p at the end of trading.

Carnival, the owner of the P&O cruise line, also sank after it said it expected earnings for the 2019 financial year to be below previous forecasts due to rising fuel prices.

Shares in Carnival fell by 263p to 3,389p.

While the FTSE led the way, the other European markets also pushed higher on the back of optimism among commodity traders.

The German Dax increased by 0.44% while the French Cac moved 0.66% higher.

However, the Dow Jones opened lower as shares in US firms were impacted by new allegations around Mr Trump’s potential election interference surfaced.

Meanwhile, sterling was largely flat as continued speculation over a general election paralysed the currency.

The pound was 0.21% down versus the US dollar at 1.235, and up 0.09% against the euro at 1.129.

The price of oil fell for a third straight day as Saudi Arabia’s move to restore output quickly weighed down on prices.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil slumped by 0.86% to 62 US dollars.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Aveva, up 148p at 3,712p, Next, up 232p at 6,028p, JD Sports, 22.6p at 724p, and 3I, up 34.5p at 1,146p.

The biggest fallers on the index were Pearson, down 120.8p at 740p, Imperial Brands, down 267.3p at 1,798.2p, Carnival, down 263p at 3,389p, and IAG, down 19.1p at 461p.

PA

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