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FTSE 100 surrenders gains to trade lower

Mon, 15th Mar 2021

A lacklustre start to trading on Wall Street contributed to the FTSE 100 losing its way on Monday as its earlier gains were surrendered to see the index trade down 0.2% at 6,748.09 by the close. Subprime lender Provident Financial plunged 27.4% to 190p after it revealed UK regulators were investigating its consumer credit division, focusing on the affordability and sustainability of lending practices. Provident Financial said it was planning to spend up to $65 million addressing customer complaints in the division, which it said might be forced into liquidation if its plan was rejected. Gambling company Flutter rallied 6.9% to £168.80 on confirming press speculation that it was mullling a US listing of its FanDuel business. Options including the listing of a small shareholding in FanDuel were being considered but no decision had yet been made, Flutter said. Investment company HG Capital Trust slumped 7.3% to 319.5p after it cut its annual dividend to 3p per share, down from 5p year-on-year. The route came despite HG's net asset value per share in the year through December rising 24%. Data and analytics company Ascential shed 4.3% to 355p, having reported wider annual losses as pandemic-led disruptions to its events and advisory business hurt revenue and led to asset writedowns. Ascential's pre-tax losses for the year through December were £184.3 million, from £7.9 million year-on-year, as revenue fell 31% to £301.1 million. Bus and train group Stagecoach reversed 0.5% to 98p as it expressed disappointment that authorities in Manchester were recommending plans for a bus franchising scheme in the greater Manchester region. The proposed scheme, if approved, would be introduced in three phases in January 2023, January 2024 and January 2025. Stagecoach said the majority of its Manchester operations were in the final-phase area. Marketing and support services group DCC gained 0.6% to £60.10 after it agreed to acquire Worner Medizinprodukte, a supplier of medical and laboratory products in Germany and Switzerland, for €80 million. Specialist recruitment company SThree firmed 4% to 362p on reporting first-quarter fee revenue that was broadly flat, ahead of its expectations. Disease test-kit supplier Omega Diagnostics dipped 0.2% to 98.3p, having welcomed a government estimate of £374 million for the value of a contract for supplying Covid-19 tests. Omega noted that the number represented a maximum potential value of the contract. Fast-moving consumer products manufacturer Supreme climbed 2.3% to 194.4p on news that it had completed a roll-out of its 88Vape vaping products across McColl's 1,180 convenience store estate in the UK. Story provided by

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