Fears of a property market slowdown spooked investors yesterday.
Builders’ merchants Travis Perkins was the worst-performing stock on the FTSE All Share, falling 10.5 per cent, or 150p, to a five-year low of 1285p.
The owner of the DIY chain Wickes reported a 10 per cent fall in profits last year, blaming a ‘challenging environment’ and falling consumer confidence.
Fears of a property market slowdown spooked investors yesterday. Builders’ merchants Travis Perkins was the worst-performing stock on the FTSE All Share, falling 10.5 per cent, or 150p, to a five-year low of 1285p
It does not think things will get much better this year either.
Foxtons, the estate agents, blamed a slowdown in London’s property market for a 65 per cent slide in its profits. In its preliminary results for 2017, it claimed activity in the capital was ‘near historic lows’ and said trading would remain tough in 2018.
However, broker Peel Hunt believes Foxtons’ problems run deeper than it is letting on and has hit it with a ‘sell’ rating.
It said: ‘While we accept London market transactions have fallen over the period, we do not believe the reduction has been of a similar magnitude to that experienced by Foxtons and therefore we think the group has lost market share.’
Shares fell 8.8 per cent, or 7.3p, to 76p.
FTSE 100 housebuilder Taylor Wimpey reported falling sales and a 5.8 per cent fall in profits for last year.
Investors dumped Mothercare in their droves and there are fears it could follow rival Toys R Us and electronics chain Maplin into administration
However, without the £130million it set aside to help customers paying onerous ground rents, it would have made a profit.
Either way, investors wanted out. At closing, the firm’s shares had dipped 4 per cent, or 7.75p, to 186p.
STOCK WATCH: Croma Security Solutions
Stronger demand for Croma Security Solutions’ services sent shares flying.
The Aim-listed security provider, which makes biometric hand scanners to keep out intruders, reported a fourfold increase in its profits, to £1million for the six months ending December 31.
After a promising start, the south coast company, which also hires out security guards, says that it is on course for a record full-year.
Its shares jumped 17.1 per cent, or 15p, to 102.5p yesterday.
Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 dipped 0.69 per cent, or 50.54 points lower to 7231.91, while the FTSE 250 fell by 0.95 per cent, or 188.51 points, to 19,687.27.
Investors dumped Mothercare in their droves and there are fears it could follow rival Toys R Us and electronics chain Maplin into administration.
Traditional retailers have been struggling in the face of stiff competition from online rivals.
Eyebrows were raised last month when the early years retailer, which sells prams, baby clothes and toys, had a terrible Christmas. Investors got twitchy again after Toys R Us, a rival of Mothercare, slipped into administration.
Mothercare’s shares plunged 9.4 per cent, or 2.95p, to 28.35p.
Andrew Croft, the boss of St James’s Place, was bullish yesterday, claiming that the wealth manager could grow by between 15 per cent and 20 per cent this year.
He was speaking as it reported a 32 per cent uplift in profits last year, citing strong demand for face-to-face advice.
Despite its reputation for high fees, customers gave SJP an extra £9.5billion to manage on their behalf in 2017, bringing the total to an all-time high of £90.7billion.
Those impressive results have prompted the company to increase its final dividend by 33 per cent to 27.45p a share.
It brings the full-year dividend to 42.86, up 30 per cent.
The company’s shares lifted 2.6 per cent, or 29p, to 1154.5p.
But shares in Safestyle have crashed to record lows after the PVCu window and door maker admitted that it was feeling the heat from its competitors.
In a trading update, the Bradford-based firm warned 2018 would be very challenging amid competition from an ‘aggressive new market entrant’, thought to be rival Safeglaze.
Safestyle, which makes more than 6,000 frames a week, told investors yesterday that profits in 2018 would be ‘materially below 2017 levels’.
Analysts at broker Liberum Capital downgraded the firm’s rating from ‘buy’ to ‘hold’. They also slashed its target price from 200p to 130p.
Safestyle’s shares plunged more than 25 per cent, or 38.4p, to 113.6p.