FTSE 250 movers: Gold miners buoyed as global sell-off endures
London's mid cap index was down 1.39% at 18,970.95 on Thursday afternoon, led by Keller and WH Smith.
Keller tumbled nearly 27% after issuing a profit warning on its Asia Pacific business, where newly appointed regional management have reassessed finances of current projects and now expect a full year pre-tax loss of £12-15m, sparking a strategic review of the division. The construction engineering company said the rest of its business was trading in line with expectations.
“This is not the first time operations in Asia have tripped the company up, losses here were largely to blame for a major profit warning two years ago and there may now be questions over whether the company should continue to operate in these markets,” said analysts at AJ Bell.
Tatty-carpeted retailer WH Smith was under the cosh after reporting a drop in pre-tax profit for the year to the end of August as it took some one-off charged as part of new efforts to restructure its high street business. However, underlying pre-tax profit in the year to end-August was up 4% to £145m if the one-off costs from closures and restructuring are ignored, while trading profit from the travel business up 7% to £103m.
Chief executive Stephen Clarke said despite this good performance he was "not ignoring the challenging conditions being experienced on the high street more generally" and had undertaken a detailed review of the what is the world’s oldest national retail chain to ensure it remains "fit for purpose now and for the future".
Recruiter Hays tanked as it posted a weaker-than-expected set of first quarter results on Thursday, with net fee income rising 9% on a like-for-like basis in the three months ended 30 September - 2% short of consensus forecasts.
Lee Wild, head of equity strategy at Interactive Investor, said: "Brexit is causing problems for hirers in the UK, and this is Hays’ weakest link currently. Employers are cautious, which means only modest growth here."
Despite results falling below consensus, Liberum reiterated a 'buy' rating with a target price of 210p for Hays' shares.
Urban regeneration company Countryside Properties slumped after the company said it continues to see strong demand for its homes, particularly from first-time buyers and the private rental sector, but the tone from discretionary purchasers is more subdued.
While the company's private sales forward order book fell to £215m from £242m and the private average selling price was down 7% to £402,000, the company said total completions rose 27% to 4,295 homes, while the total order book was up 40% to £900.
Sparkling amid the gloom of the sell-off were precious metals miners, with Centamin and Hochschild Mining racking up strong gains as investors piled into the safety of gold, while Polymetal also edged up.
Homeware retailer Dunelm also managed to defy the doom, rising 5% after it said revenues had picked up to 4.2% on a like-for-like basis in the first quarter of its financial year after a finish to the previous period. Only a month since its final results announcement, the FTSE 250 group said that if including the benefit of changes to the store portfolio, total growth of continuing business was 5.8% to £244.2m.
Chief executive Nick Wilkinson said that, despite his medium-term optimism, “we are cautious about the months ahead, due to the level of market and customer uncertainty”.
Bolstered by Dunelm's positive performance, UBS reiterated its 'buy' rating of the company's shares with a target price of 600p.
FTSE 250 (MCX) 18,970.95 -1.39%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 99.87p 9.75%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 157.90p 5.90%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 573.00p 5.62%
Amigo Holdings (AMGO) 212.60p 5.04%
Senior (SNR) 295.60p 2.71%
TI Fluid Systems (TIFS) 199.70p 2.41%
Greencore Group (GNC) 200.00p 2.30%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,016.57p 2.17%
Plus500 Ltd (DI) (PLUS) 1,256.00p 2.11%
Polymetal International (POLY) 621.00p 2.00%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Keller Group (KLR) 706.94p -26.51%
WH Smith (SMWH) 1,786.00p -12.19%
Countryside Properties (CSP) 284.00p -10.24%
Hays (HAS) 161.90p -8.01%
VinaCapital Vietnam Opportunity Fund Ltd. (VOF) 318.00p -6.47%
Premier Oil (PMO) 125.20p -5.65%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,722.00p -5.25%
Edinburgh Dragon Trust (EFM) 325.00p -4.97%
FDM Group (Holdings) (FDM) 898.00p -4.87%
Games Workshop Group (GAW) 3,156.80p -4.77%