Market Report: Panmure Gordon prove it's a tough time for stockbrokers

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The Independent Online

These are tough times for stockbrokers. Just ask Panmure Gordon, one of the City’s oldest and best-known institutions, which slipped into the red in the first half of 2015.

The firm, which revealed that its £2m pre-tax profit last year became a £225,000 loss in 2015, blamed “the UK election, disruptive market volatility in China and the political and economic fallout from Greece” for its struggles.

Its woes prompted traders to dump the stock, and it finished 31.5p lower at 92.5p, wiping a quarter of the value off the company. 

Things have been even more challenging for Daniel Stewart, whose shares were suspended for more than five months amid financial uncertainty. The distressed City outfit, which counts former Quindell boss Rob Terry as a 9 per cent shareholder, put on 0.13p to 1.53p despite warning of a wider full-year loss as it wrote off bad debts to the tune of £500,000.

Investors hoping for a dead-cat stocks bounce were left disappointed as the FTSE 100 fell 49.62 to 5,909.24.

A £300m share buyback wasn’t enough to prevent Wolseley plunging to the bottom of the Footsie, down 523p to 3,656p, as the plumbing supplies group slashed first-half guidance.

The company warned that like-for-like growth in the first-half would be around 4 per cent compared with a 7.1 per cent gain over the previous 12 months as Wolseley racked up £13.3bn in revenues.

Drug makers slumped after fears of a clampdown on US drug prices before the 2016 election. Shire dropped 144p to 4,431p – well below the 5,730p it was trading at before the Baxalta talks were made public; GlaxoSmithKline fell 13p to 1,237.5p; and AstraZeneca was 50.5p weaker at 4,129.5p.

On the mid-cap index, strong first-half results reassured investors in the online fashion retailer, 0.25p smarter at 33.25p and returning to levels seen before January’s shock profit warning.

Elsewhere, Zoltav Resources, the Russian oil junior 40 per cent-owned by Arkadiy Abramovich, son of Chelsea FC’s billionaire owner Roman Abramovich, was 2p dearer at 39.5p after significantly boosting production in the first half.