Market Report: MySale is in vogue to cheer Philip Green and Mike Ashley

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Retailers Sir Philip Green and Mike Ashley were given a welcome distraction from the looming reports due into BHS and Sports Direct after results earlier from e-tailer MySale cheered the market.

Both tycoons, braced for criticism from MPs on the collapse of BHS and Sports Direct’s working practices, are backers of the fashion site, which revealed higher-than-expected revenues and profits for the year to June 30.

The firm, which allows designers such as Vivienne Westwood to sell off leftover stock at the end of a season, noted “an enormous opportunity” to grow the business in the UK.

The update marks the latest stage in the turnaround plan for MySale which famously blundered on its City debut in 2014 when the shares were mistakenly listed in pounds, not pence, causing confusion which triggered automatic selling.

But on Thursday the AIM-listed stock was in vogue with the City and rose 3.1p, or 4.5%, to 72.1p.

On the FTSE 100, equipment rental firm Ashtead was the biggest riser on the blue-chip index. The UK firm, which provides everything from scaffolding to lighting for concerts, was lifted after US rival United Rentals yesterday reported “solid” customer activity in the second quarter. Ashtead surged 44p to 1172p.

Engineering support services Babcock International climbed 4p to 960p. Despite admitting it was too early to predict the impact of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, investors were pleased trading for the year to March 2017 is in line with expectations. 

The firm, which provides infrastructure services, equipment support and military training to the British armed forces, added its order book remains stable.

But the rises were not enough to keep the FTSE 100 from remaining volatile. “The FTSE 100 slipped into negative territory at the market open ahead of the European Central Bank’s first meeting since the UK’s vote to leave the EU,” AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said. The index dipped 23.23 points to 6705.76. 

On the FTSE 250 index, online white goods seller AO World was a top riser, up 7.7p to 143.9p, after it said its revenue in euros from its newly launched German and Dutch operations had more than doubled. It reported progress on margins and marketing in the UK and kept full-year guidance unchanged despite Brexit uncertainty.

Property companies did not fare as well, with shares in retirement housebuilder McCarthy & Stone and office developers Workspace and Derwent slipping.

It came on the same day a report by estate agent Lambert Smith Hampton forecast that UK commercial property prices will see double-digit falls in the next six months, following market uncertainty generated by Brexit.

The FTSE 250 lost 127.3 points to 16,891.59.

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July 21, 2016 |
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