FTSE 250 movers: Saga slumps, eOne hits high
London's FTSE 250 index was 0.37% lower at 19,491.44 in afternoon trade on Thursday, with Saga leading the index lower as its shares plummeted by over 30%.
The over-50s holidays and services provider was the standout loser on the index after it warned on full-year profits and slashed its dividend.
IG market analyst Chris Beauchamp said: "Saga’s high dividend yield heading into this morning’s results should have been taken as a warning that a cut to the payout was a possibility, and it has come to pass. The pre-tax loss is also bad news, but with trading already looking tough the dividend was perhaps the last attraction the shares had left. Now that has also been sullied, and even the travel business is expected to see tougher times ahead."
Stagecoach was also out of favour after its shares were cut to 'hold' at Liberum, whose analysts argued that it could be back to being a pure UK bus operator for the company by this time next year if it is unsuccessful in its three ongoing rail franchise bids.
And while the bus businesses was the most attractive bit of the franchise, it faced "current trading and long-term structural challenges".
Meanwhile, TV and film producer Entertainment One topped the risers after saying that its 12-month performance was in line with expectations, sending its stock vaulting to a fresh record high of 477p in afternoon trading.
Fiona Orford-Williams, analyst at Edison Investment Research, said: "Entertainment One’s update shows the groundwork in place for good progress across both Family & Brands and Film, Television & Music. The benefits of the transition towards production in film are clear, with better margin potential, a reduced risk profile and stronger free cash flow. The intense competition between new and competing SVOD providers is driving a healthy appetite for high quality entertainment content."
Convatec, TP ICAP, Travis Perkins, Moneysupermarket.com and James Fisher were all lower as they went ex-dividend.
UDG Healthcare rallied on the back of an upgrade to 'overweight' by analysts at Barclays, who said that the stock was underpinned by favourable fundamentals, a strategic drive towards higher growth and margin businesses and an unlevered balance sheet to capitalise on a good supply of M&A opportunities.
"Whilst this has been true for some time, we took a neutral stance owing to the potential for earnings downgrades as well as a full valuation. Having recently spent time with management, who were confident and upbeat about their business, and our analysis of individual businesses, we now expect earnings upgrades and view management guidance as conservative," said the note from Barclays.
Finally, Electrocomponents gained after saying it is on course to deliver strong growth in full-year adjusted pre-tax profit in line with expectations following good progress in the fourth quarter.
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,491.44 -0.37%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Entertainment One Limited (ETO) 471.40p +6.08%
IP Group (IPO) 99.50p +5.18%
UDG Healthcare Public Limited Company (UDG) 617.50p +3.69%
Kier Group (KIE) 362.10p +3.69%
Metro Bank (MTRO) 888.00p +2.60%
Just Group (JUST) 61.45p +2.42%
Electrocomponents (ECM) 610.20p +2.25%
Bank of Georgia Group (BGEO) 1,713.00p +1.42%
Ascential (ASCL) 366.40p +1.38%
Amigo Holdings (AMGO) 191.62p +1.38%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Saga (SAGA) 70.16p -34.31%
Stagecoach Group (SGC) 148.00p -7.62%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 137.50p -4.25%
TP ICAP (TCAP) 286.10p -3.99%
Funding Circle Holdings (FCH) 351.50p -3.70%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,376.00p -2.58%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 353.80p -2.43%
Fisher (James) & Sons (FSJ) 1,944.00p -2.21%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 512.00p -2.18%
Clarkson (CKN) 2,355.00p -2.08%