Companies doing everything from books to insurance are suffering from the march of technology and the latest to feel the heat is Eco City Vehicles.
The AIM-listed manufacturer, which makes the Mercedes Vito black cabs, launched a strategic review yesterday after revealing that revenues in the first half fell by a third to £11.4m. It blamed the collapse on “uncertainty caused in the London licensed taxi trade by the emergence of Uber” – the app that lets people hail cabs with the click of a button on their smartphones. Eco City plummeted 0.22p to 0.42p.
A sea of red continued to flow through the markets amid fears over Argentina, Ukraine and Gaza. But bizarrely, the FTSE 100 pulled back from its morning lows after US job numbers missed expectations, highlighting what CMC Markets analyst Jasper Lawler called an “upside-down market”.
A strong increase in jobs would bring the prospect of interest rate rises closer – something traders don’t want. In current conditions, bad news for the economy can sometimes be good news for stock markets. The Footsie still closed down 50.93 points at 6,679.18, its worst finish since early July.
One of the few companies to eke out gains was Smith & Nephew. The medical equipment company climbed 39p to 1,065p after revealing a 3 per cent rise in revenues in the second quarter and a 6 per cent jump in trading profit.
The AstraZeneca chairman Leif Johansson snapped up 6,000 shares in the pharmaceutical giant at a cost of £260,000. Astra slipped 6p to 4,338.5p.
The oil explorer Afren made up some lost ground, 4.1p better at 114.1p, as punters with a high risk tolerance snapped up shares that were gutted by the suspension of two top executives.
Software Radio Technology, which develops black boxes for boats, leapt 3.5p to 27.5p on AIM after the US Coast Guard said it is considering extending requirements for certain commercial vessels to install the type of identification product that the company makes.
Northcote Energy climbed 0.07p to 0.88p due to a strategic alliance with MX Oil, up 0.02p at 3.37p.