UK exports float higher as deficit shrinks…

FTSE indices stumbled lower as they were hampered by a fall in resource stocks, due to weakening commodities prices prompted by a stronger dollar. Copper miner Antofagasta was the largest FTSE 100 faller (-6.46%) as it was on the end of a downgrade from Canaccord Genuity due to tax reasons, though the sentiment spread throughout many stocks in the sector.

The UK trade deficit shrank in April to £10.5bn according to figures released by the ONS. This was at a level lower than predicted by economists surveyed for the Wall Street Journal. The ONS attributed the differential to an increase in the level of goods exported from the UK to £26.5bn, and a record level of exports to non-EU countries. Chemicals, machinery, and oil exporters were the key drivers of this rise. Concurrently, UK imports from the EU reached a record level of £21bn in April, a timely announcement ahead of the UK’s EU referendum.

Essentra was at the mercy of Investors as it experienced a drop in its share price of almost 28%.This was in the wake of a profit warning pertaining to its 2016 results due to issues faced by its cigarette filters business.

British Polythene Industries(BPI) surged the other way (+35%) on an agreed takeover by RPC. This was the latest in a slew of deals for RPC as the plastics product maker looks to consolidate in a disjointed marketplace. The acquisition will provide exposure to an adjacent polymer market whilst increasing the range of polymer conversion technologies in its portfolio. RPC’s recent track record of integrating acquisitions is strong, and annual cost synergies from this last year ran €15m higher than previous estimates. The deal values BPI shares at c. 940p, roughly a 30% premium to the stock’s closing price yesterday, and is to be part-funded by an RPC share placing raising £90m of the total £261m deal. RPC was up over 3% on the news.

At the close European indices were down with the FTSE 100 -1.10%, with the CAC 40 -0.97%, and the DAX 30 -1.25%.

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