FTSE 250 movers: Quilter jumps on update; Stagecoach dented by downgrade
London’s FTSE 250 was up 0.2% at 21,468.29 in afternoon trade on Wednesday.
Quilter was the standout gainer after the wealth manager beat expectations as the end of 2019 saw it return to net inflows.
Updating investors on fourth-quarter trading, the former Old Mutual Wealth business said that assets under management were £110.4bn at the year end, a 13% increase on 31 December 2018. Gross sales reached £3.5bn in the final quarter of the year, a 17% improvement, while net client cash flow inflow was £0.5bn.
Wizz Air flew higher after the low-cost airline lifted its full-year net profit guidance as it reported a record net profit for the third quarter. The company said it now expects net profit of between €350m and €355m in 2020, up from previous guidance of between €335m and €350m.
Building materials distributor Grafton was on the rise after Travis Perkins said its home improvement business, Wickes, had delivered like-for-like sales growth of 4.5% in the fourth quarter.
On the downside, transport operator Stagecoach retreated after a rating downgrade at HSBC.
McCarthy & Stone was under the cosh on news that private equity firm Anchorage Capital was placing 43m shares in the retirement housebuilder. According to terms seen by Bloomberg, the shares were being placed at 145p, with Goldman Sachs as bookrunner.
Avast was also weaker after saying it was "reviewing all options" relating to its trend analytics business, Jumpshot, following reports earlier in the week that it had been selling users’ web-browsing clicks.
According to a joint investigation by Mortherboard and PCMag, Avast was scraping data from the software it provides to customers and passing it on to Jumpshot, which then sold it for millions of dollars to companies such as Google, Yelp and Microsoft.
Avast requires its users to opt in to sharing data, but the investigation found that many were unaware their data was being sold on by Jumpshot.
FTSE 250 - Risers
Quilter (QLT) 171.50p 6.89%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 494.20p 4.57%
Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 179.10p 3.83%
Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 4,265.00p 3.77%
Galliford Try (GFRD) 141.90p 3.35%
Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 464.30p 2.97%
Grafton Group Units (GFTU) 908.00p 2.25%
Just Group (JUST) 77.15p 2.12%
UDG Healthcare Public Limited Company (UDG) 809.50p 2.08%
PureTech Health (PRTC) 298.00p 2.05%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Stagecoach Group (SGC) 132.20p -7.03%
McCarthy & Stone (MCS) 147.10p -5.52%
Ascential (ASCL) 371.00p -5.07%
Avast (AVST) 458.00p -4.94%
Finablr (FIN) 91.85p -4.57%
Hyve Group (HYVE) 98.40p -3.53%
Softcat (SCT) 1,166.00p -3.48%
Equiniti Group (EQN) 210.00p -3.40%
Greggs (GRG) 2,264.00p -3.00%
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 609.00p -2.87%