FTSE 250 movers: Metro Bank stumbles, Sirius Minerals soars
London's FTSE 250 index was edged 0.04% lower to 19,481.51 in afternoon trade on Wednesday, with Metro Bank coming in as the top faller.
Elsewhere, JD Wetherspoon was on the back foot as it said LFL sales rose 7.6% in the third quarter, while total sales were up 8.4%, in what constituted a slowdown from the 9.6% rate reported for the six weeks to 10 March.
David Madden at CMC Markets UK said: "The group continues to review its operation, as it closed seven pubs, and opened three new pubs, and it intends to open two establishments this year. Investors are concerned about higher operational costs, and that weighed on the share price this morning. The stock hit a record-high last month, so a pullback isn’t a surprise."
Restaurant Group fell as Peel Hunt analysts downgraded the stock from 'add' to 'hold' as they argued that the shares are now fairly valued amid concern over the company's reliance on its Wagamama chain, while Victrex was lower after being cut to 'neutral' at UBS ahead of its interim results release on Monday
AJ Bell led the risers, while Sirius Minerals was also on the way up as analysts at Berenberg cut the stock's price target from 40p to 35p and warned that shareholders may face some dilution in the short term, but reiterated a 'buy' rating and stated that they remain positive on the fertiliser developer's longer-term credentials.
"The economics and valuation are still favourable, even with conservative assumptions on pricing, volumes and capex, as the project should generate an IRR of 15% and an P/NPV ratio of 0.4x. Furthermore, we remain positive on the long-term success of its POLY4 product. Our argument is predicated on the idea that polyhalite can offer a cheaper alternative to existing speciality fertiliser products like SOP (sulphate of potash)," said analysts.
Galliford Try rose after picking up seven new contract awards that will deliver 950 new homes across the northeast, while Syncona climbed after portfolio company Blue Earth Diagnostics on Tuesday reported positive results from a study into prostate cancer diagnosis.
Finally, shares of builders' merchants Grafton Group climbed higher after it reported a 6.1% increase in group revenue for the four months to 30 April.
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,457.48 -0.04%
FTSE 250 - Risers
AJ Bell (AJB) 468.00p 4.46%
Indivior (INDV) 40.59p 4.40%
Sirius Minerals (SXX) 15.86p 4.27%
Galliford Try (GFRD) 570.50p 3.73%
Funding Circle Holdings (FCH) 229.00p 3.39%
Syncona Limited NPV (SYNC) 249.01p 3.33%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 159.70p 3.17%
Grafton Group Units (GFTU) 894.50p 2.82%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 321.20p 2.75%
Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 1,302.00p 2.36%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Metro Bank (MTRO) 583.50p -7.82%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 1,269.00p -5.65%
Rank Group (RNK) 152.60p -4.39%
Restaurant Group (RTN) 136.60p -3.60%
Just Group (JUST) 64.90p -3.49%
Saga (SAGA) 57.25p -2.97%
Victrex plc (VCT) 2,232.00p -2.96%
Playtech (PTEC) 392.60p -2.92%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 618.00p -2.77%
Kier Group (KIE) 350.92p -2.09%