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FTSE struggles for direction with US markets closed for MLK Day

Mon, 18th Jan 2021

The FTSE 100 was off its lows but still down for the day, closing 0.2% lower at 6,720.65 as the lack of any US trading thanks to Martin Luther King Day saw it struggle for direction Device testing and analytics group Spirent Communications fell 1% to 260p even its annual revenue rose 4%, helping it to achieve a 'strong' rise in earnings in line with its expectations. Spirent Communications said it may return excess cash to shareholders, but warned that an ongoing Covid-19 impact on customer spending patterns meant growth in 2021 was expected to be second-half weighted. Pharmaceutical giants AstraZeneca gained 1.1% to £76.78 on news that it and Daiichi Sankyo had received US approval for their gastric cancer drug. British gas parent company Centrica fell 2% to 49.6p, having announced departure of chief financial officer Johnathan Ford for personal reasons. Ford was being replaced by Kate Ringrose, who has had been with Centrica for 16 years and most recently was its financial controller. Healthcare company investor PureTech Health edged up 1.2% to 386p as founded entity and liver cancer focused Vor Biopharma filed a registration statement related to a proposed initial public offering in the US. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering had not yet been determined. Animal genetics company Genus firmed 4.5% to £45.04 after it upgraded its guidance on adjusted profit and revenue for the first half of the year, citing a continued strong performance. Genus's adjusted pre-tax for the six months through December was now expected to be within a range of £47.0 million and £49.0 million, up from £36.6 million a year earlier. Cosmetics group Warpaint London rallied 9.9% to 92.35p as it, too, upgraded its annual guidance on the back of stronger-than-expected trading in the second half of 2020. Warpaint London's adjusted profit from operations, including a foreign exchange charge,would exceed £2.2 million, 10% ahead of previously stated guidance of £2 million, on revenue of at least £40 million. Alternative fuel group Velocys tumbled 27% to 7.51p on announcing that Shell had withdrawn from a joint venture formed to develop sustainable aviation fuel. Velocys said it would continued to work with British Airways, the other partner in the Altalto joint venture, to secure finance for the Altalto Immingham plant. Financial product and services company CPP jumped 51.2% to 498p after it upgraded its core earnings guidance following a stronger-than-expected recovery in India. CPP's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation for the year through December were expected in a range of £7.1 million to £7.3 million -- 10% ahead of the market consensus of £6.4 million. Story provided by

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