FTSE Close: FTSE 100 edges higher, gold soars to new highs

London’s stock market closed in positive territory on Wednesday, buoyed by strong earnings reports and a lack of hawkish surprises from the US Federal Reserve. The FTSE 100 index edged up 0.4% to 7,679.31, with the mid-cap FTSE 250 performing even better, rising 1.1% to 19,473.22.

Medical technology company ConvaTec was the star performer, jumping 6.2% after announcing its pre-tax profit more than doubled to $167.4 million in 2023, compared to $81.9 million the year before. The company also reported a 3.4% increase in revenue and highlighted broad-based growth across its chronic care product lines.

Meanwhile, gold miners Fresnillo and Endeavour took divergent paths after the price of gold hit a record high of $2,149.00 an ounce. Endeavour gained 2.0%, but Fresnillo dipped 2.9% as analysts at German bank Berenberg remained unconvinced by the company’s annual results released on Tuesday.

Daily Recap

Another big gainer was Premier Foods, whose shares surged 12% to a 12-month high. The company secured an agreement to suspend pension deficit contributions earlier than expected, freeing up £33 million in cash flow for the upcoming financial year.

Digital 9 soared 26% after receiving merger approval in Iceland for the completion of the Verne transaction. This follows similar approval received in Finland on Tuesday. The company had previously announced the sale of its stake in Verne Group for up to $575 million.

However, outsourcing giant Capita suffered a brutal day, with its share price nosediving over 20%. The company unveiled a larger-than-expected annual loss of £106.6 million for 2023, a significant swing from the previous year’s profit. Despite CEO optimism about the future, Capita’s revenue also dipped by 6.6%, highlighting ongoing challenges.

Daily Risers and Fallers

FTSE All-Share risers: Digital 9 25.66%, Premier Foods 11.53%, TUI AG 9%, Lsl Prop 8.4%, Genus 7.59%, ConvaTec 6.1%, Funding Circle 6.06%, Hipgnosis Song. 5.31%, PureTech 5.21%, International Airlines 4.79%.

FTSE All-Share fallers: Capita -22.45%, Headlam -6.09%, Zotefoams -5.29%, Ibstock -4.95%, Robert Walters -4.62%, Hunting -3.85%, Porvair -3.73%, Videndum Plc -3.66%, Ct Priv. Ord -3.42%, Wag Payment -3.33%.