London open: Stocks edge down as Ashtead, Compass slide

by | Nov 20, 2023

(Sharecast News) – London stocks edged lower in early trade on Monday, dragged down by heavy losses for the likes of Ashtead and Compass, as investors looked ahead to the Autumn Statement this week.
At 0830 GMT, the FTSE 100 was down 0.3% at 7,480.66.

Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “There doesn’t seem much motivation on Monday to reverse early losses on the FTSE 100. It’s been on the back foot in early trade, despite a close in the green for Wall Street on Friday.

“The slight tick up in sterling may be part of the equation, given the effect on dollar denominated earnings of the raft of multinationals listed on the index. Focus for domestically orientated stocks is being trained on the UK Chancellor’s Autumn Statement this week, with rumours swirling of an extension of fiscal incentives for companies, as well as mooted cuts to inheritance tax. However, he’s slightly hampered in any big moves to use the tax system to stimulate short-term demand given the risks that could fuel inflation all over again.”

Hunt is due to deliver the Autumn Statement on Wednesday.

In equity markets, industrial equipment company Ashtead tumbled as it lowered full-year revenue and profit forecasts after a quieter hurricane season and the writers’ and actors’ strike in the US.

It now expects both group and US rental revenue growth in the range of 11% to 13%, down from previous guidance of 13% to 16% for both, which will result in core profit being 2- 3% below current market expectations.

Catering giant Compass was also sharply lower as it hiked its final dividend by 27% as annual profits surged but revenues missed expectations.

On the upside, Diploma rallied as the industrial supplier expressed confidence in current-year forecasts after a solid set of annual results, with adjusted operating profits growing by a quarter.

Halma gained after announcing the acquisition of TeDan – a US supplier of surgical instruments – for up to $100m (£81m).

Standard Chartered was lifted by an upgrade to ‘buy’ from ‘neutral’ at Goldman Sachs, while Currys was boosted by an upgrade to ‘outperform’ from ‘sector perform’ at RBC Capital Markets.

Outside the FTSE 350, MusicMagpie surged after confirming that it is in early-stage talks with both BT Group and private equity investor Aurelius Group about a possible bid for the company.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,480.66 -0.31%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 18,562.40 -0.03%
techMARK (TASX) 4,088.79 -0.12%

FTSE 100 – Risers

Diploma (DPLM) 3,128.00p 3.58%
Frasers Group (FRAS) 885.00p 1.96%
Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) 9,080.00p 1.57%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,398.50p 1.41%
Halma (HLMA) 2,080.00p 1.32%
Centrica (CNA) 153.45p 1.12%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 667.20p 1.09%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 140.05p 0.94%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,577.00p 0.80%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 526.00p 0.77%

FTSE 100 – Fallers

Ashtead Group (AHT) 4,546.00p -13.31%
Compass Group (CPG) 1,979.00p -5.40%
Bunzl (BNZL) 2,903.00p -1.43%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 10,114.00p -1.42%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 553.00p -1.36%
Glencore (GLEN) 462.95p -1.01%
Flutter Entertainment (CDI) (FLTR) 12,595.00p -0.79%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,362.00p -0.76%
Prudential (PRU) 938.00p -0.74%
Endeavour Mining (EDV) 1,717.00p -0.58%

FTSE 250 – Risers

Currys (CURY) 49.98p 3.39%
Indivior (INDV) 1,362.00p 2.41%
Fidelity China Special Situations (FCSS) 218.00p 2.35%
Savills (SVS) 899.50p 2.22%
Coats Group (COA) 73.30p 2.09%
UK Commercial Property Reit Limited (UKCM) 59.20p 2.07%
4Imprint Group (FOUR) 4,470.00p 1.82%
Jupiter Fund Management (JUP) 88.00p 1.79%
Diversified Energy Company (DEC) 75.50p 1.75%
888 Holdings (DI) (888) 79.90p 1.59%

FTSE 250 – Fallers

Sirius Real Estate Ltd. (SRE) 88.30p -3.34%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 1,493.50p -2.00%
NB Private Equity Partners Ltd. (NBPE) 1,610.00p -1.95%
LondonMetric Property (LMP) 177.70p -1.93%
Bellevue Healthcare Trust (Red) (BBH) 126.00p -1.56%
Helios Towers (HTWS) 73.70p -1.54%
JPMorgan Emerging Markets Inv Trust (JMG) 103.00p -1.53%
Pennon Group (PNN) 736.50p -1.41%
Darktrace (DARK) 345.70p -1.34%
TR Property Inv Trust (TRY) 309.50p -1.28%

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