Investors Hit the Brakes on Melrose

Tuesday, July 9: UK equities were under pressure, in particular those listed on the FTE 250(-0.58%) which fell for a third consecutive session as Ireland’s finance minister warned of the inherent risks of a disorderly Brexit. Dublin’s main index, the ISEQ was lower on Brexit jitters as shares of airlines were also hit.

The FTSE 100(-0.17%) was in the red despite weaker sterling and a rally in Ocado shares. Ocado was 10% higher around lunchtime as the group announced that it was trading in line with market expectations. Half year losses were exacerbated due to the effects of a warehouse fire in Hampshire, though sales growth was touted as being healthy. For the six months ended June 3 pretax losses widened dramatically to £142.8m from just £13.6m in the prior period, primarily due to the write down of property, plant & equipment at the Andover warehouse.

Equities on the continent were also on the back foot as a profit warning from chemical manufacturer BASF led to a fall in the DAX 30(-0.85%), whilst chemical counterparts on FTSE indices also suffered from a negative read across. Melrose(-4.14%) was one of the larger fallers as investors mulled the impact of a downturn in the auto industry for GKN’s auto segment, given BASF supplies car manufacturers with plastics, coatings, lubricants, fuel additives, coolants, brake fluids and battery materials.

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