Friday, 31 January: Before we get onto the Coronavirus, Brexit or anything else. Give yourself a pat on the back, if you’re reading this you’ve made it, January is practically done. Raise a glass, let your hair down and rejoice in February and it’s beautiful slightly longer than usual but still short 29-day life span. Although to guarantee you do see it through February probably best to avoid China, and well now actually Newcastle. Yes we have the first two cases confirmed in the UK and luckily for us, they’ve been sent to Newcastle so it feels especially close to home. Without travelling further away from the point, the virus fears have continued to grip markets with many traders likely going into the weekend with worst case scenario in mind, given we have 2 days to sit back and watch the worrying spread of the deadly virus. The FTSE dropped 1.3% today, with many major bourses also losing ground. In London shares weren’t helped by sterling hitting recent highs following the Bank of England’s decision yesterday, which has had time to properly be digested and judged now. Once again it was a triumphant day for safe havens unsurprisingly.
On the FTSE Hargreaves Lansdown was the major mover on the day, as shares dropped to the bottom of the FTSE after falling 8.2%. This was caused by a reported slowdown in first half investment flows, as a 12% rise in profit for the mid-point was unable to lift shares.
Aston Martin shares saw a rare stellar day, jumping 23.8% after announcing it would seek £500m in a rescue package. The money is partly being put up by billionaire Lawrence Stroll, who ones a current F1 team. The remaining will be raised via new share issuance to existing shareholders.
Britvic shares enjoyed a good day also, over on the FTSE 250 as a Q1 revenue rise saw them confirm full year guidance. Their shares have long been solid performers but struggled a little at the back end of last year as momentum slowed and many investors took profits.
Recruitment firm Staffline have seen shares decline 13.5% today, following a profit warning. The company have stated that they expect adjusted operating profit to be below prior guidance after reviewing their accounts.