StockMarketWire | 29/07/2016 - 21:10
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The main markets retreated into negative territory as mixed financial results and lower UK mortgage approvals hit investor confidence.

The FTSE 100 nudged lower to 6,711.31 and the FTSE 250 slumped 0.3% to 17,200.78.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil slipped 0.9% to $40.78 and Brent crude oil retreated 1.3% to $42.14 per barrel, respectively.

Gold was stable at $1,332 per ounce and copper cheapened 0.2% to $4,850.25 per tonne.

MAIN NEWS OF THE DAY

Investors showed confidence in Barclays (BARC) as half year results weren't as bad as expected. The bank said it would be resilient against Brexit-related issues due to its diversified business model. Shares rose 7.7% to 157.75p.

UK mortgage approvals slipped to their lowest level since May 2015, with 64,766 approved in June 2016.

BLUE CHIP RISERS AND FALLERS

The world's largest education company Pearson (PSON) fell 10.4% to 868.5p after reporting weak like-for-like sales.

Nurofen brand owner Reckitt Benckiser (RB.) disappointed the market with second quarter like-for-like sales growth, which was affected by a humidifier sanitiser scandal in South Korea where Reckitt was charged with false labelling. Shares slipped 343p to 7,095p.

MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Pharmaceutical firm Indivior (INDV) said revenue in the first half of 2016 increased to $531 million, supported by strong market growth and increased market share, which was offset by higher rebates. Shares rose 10.9% to 302.3p.

Fibre products supplier Essentra (ESNT) crashed 20% to 501.2p after adjusted operating profit fell by nearly a fifth due to delays in contracts in the manufacturing division. The company announced it would start to look for a new chief executive as incumbent Colin Day said he wanted to concentrate on a career as a non-executive director for various companies.

Global tech company Laird (LRD) suffered nearly a £10 million drop in pre-tax profit as challenges in due diligence required greater intervention to resolve. Investors jumped ship, pushing shares 12% lower to 291.9p.

Laundry services provider Berendsen (BRSN) retreated 5.7% to 1,261p dropped 5.9% to 1,258p despite operating profit and revenue rising.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Engineer Goodwin (GDWN) reported its pre-tax profit declined by nearly two-fifths to £12.3 million. The firm said its various pump, radar systems and refractory companies were unable to prevent the decline, prompting shares to slide 130p to 2,120p.

Brexit blues hit UK estate agency Foxtons (FOXT) fell 9.1% to 112.7p after a major decline in sales transaction volumes. It said it didn't expect London residential property sales to show signs of recovery before the end of the year.

Miner Sierra Rutile (SRX) revealed a 36p per share takeover approach from Iluka Resources.

Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) shot up 16.6% to 4.5p as Norwegian oil and gas operator DNO announced it planned to make a bid for the group.

Indian fashion e-commerce minnow Koovs (KOOV) revealed a 148% top line surge, but investors focussed on significantly widened losses of £16.7 million, which reflected a ramp-up in costs. Shares declined 15% to 68p.

Online musical instruments retailer Gear4music (G4M) was music to investors' ears after flagging a strong start to the year as like-for-like sales rose by over 50% in the four months to June, trading 11.8% higher at 137p.