Shares in Ashtead Group and Compass slumped today ahead of Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s autumn budget statement on Wednesday. Ashtead shares plummeted over 14% after the equipment rental firm lowered its full-year forecasts. Catering giant Compass fell 2% despite a 22% jump in revenues, as earnings missed estimates.
The FTSE 100 closed down 0.11% at 7,496, while the more domestic FTSE 250 rose 0.17% to 18,599. Specialist supplier Diploma was the top FTSE 100 gainer, up 11% on raised guidance.
In the FTSE 250, investor Foresight Group rose 2.6% to 420p and Currys climbed 2.2%. On AIM, MusicMagpie shares leapt 30% on early talks over possible takeover bids from BT and Aurelius. The suitors have until December 18 to formalise offers.
London stocks traded mostly flat to start the week as investors braced for potential austerity measures in Chancellor Hunt’s autumn statement on Wednesday and awaited minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting minues due out tomorrow.