Market Report: Only three companies enjoying gains on bad day for FTSE


And to think, just days ago we were breaking records.

The FTSE 100 was a sea of red yesterday, with just three companies enjoying gains. Jasper Lawler, market analyst at CMC Markets, said: “Today was just one of those days in which nobody is going to buy stocks. Air strikes in Yemen and what appears to be a horrific massacre of a plane full of passengers by its co-pilot are just not the making of a risk-friendly environment.”

A slump in the US, led by technology companies, didn’t help either. On this side of the Atlantic, microchip maker Arm Holdings fell 47p to 1,080p in sympathy, slipping for the second day in a row.

The London Stock Exchange was the biggest faller of the day after its largest shareholder, Borse Dubai, decided to offload its entire 17.4 per cent stake in the business. That sent LSE tumbling 143p to 2,395p, a two-month low. The Footsie fell 95.64 points to 6,895.33.

One of the few companies to eke out a rise was Hikma Pharmaceuticals, the generic drug maker that was recently promoted to the FTSE 100. Raised forecasts from JPMorgan helped Hikma rise 10p to 2194p.

Things were brighter on other indices, with Just Eat managing a 20.7p gain to 408.7p among the mid-caps. That rise was spurred by an endorsement from Goldman Sachs, which came in a wider note on online businesses. On the small-cap index, recruiter SThree bounced 12.75p to 346.75p as HSBC hiked its target price.

Cenkos Securities surged 13.5p to 183.5p after Haversham Holdings, the vehicle backed by the former Stobart executive Avril Palmer-Baunack, confirmed the £1.2bn takeover of British Car Auctions. Cenkos, which has full-year results next Tuesday, helped drum up the cash for the deal and will reap a handsome fee for its work.

Gate Ventures, a cash shell targeting media companies, has had quite a ride since listing on AIM at the start of the month. It shares were offered at 10p but have rocketed since then, leaving management scratching their heads.

The company has reportedly attracted attention from Asian investors, who see it as undervalued. Gate climbed 3.5p to 152.5p.