FTSE 250 movers: Greene King and Marstons downed, Rathbone hit by Reddit rumour
(ShareCast News) - London's mid-cap share index was staggering late on Friday, led by a pair of brewers.
Greene King dragged down sector peer Marston's after revealing takings from its pubs fell in the first 18 weeks of the year and warning that coming months offer little chance of a top-up amid weaker consumer confidence, increased costs and increasing competition. Like-for-like sales from the FTSE 250 group's owned pubs dropped 1.2%, worse than the market's 0.7% decline.
Analyst Jamie Constable at N+1 Singer said investors "always raise an eyebrow when a company blames the weather" and wondered if investors will start to question the sustainability of its dividends, which are covered 1.7 times based on free cash flow but excludes expansionary capex as it is discretionary. "If you include this Marston's DPS is uncovered and GNK just about covered."
Rathbone Brothers has said the slump in its share price on Friday coincided with an "anonymous allegation" made in a Reddit online discussion forum, while noting it might be "market abuse".
The post, by a user calling themselves 'sausagethecat', advised readers to sell stocks in Rathbones based on an unsubstantiated allegation the poster made, which was met with scepticism by other posters.
"We are not aware of anything that would give substance to this allegation and are taking strong action," the company said, adding that it was alert to the possibility of market abuse.
Sirius Minerals, as it looks to sink a first shaft under the Yorkshire Moors to begin mining for polyhalite fertiliser, was the top riser on Friday. Shares in the newly joined FTSE 250 constituent have fallen more than 16% over the last three months and some observers were suggesting they may have reached support, based on technical indicators such as the relative strength index and commodity channel index.
Last month the company said it was targeting further off-take agreements in coming months as well as beginning shaft-sinking work this quarter.
FTSE 250 - Risers
Sirius Minerals (SXX) 26.66p 6.30%
Vectura Group (VEC) 95.55p 6.23%
Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH) 2,069.00p 4.49%
Sanne Group (SNN) 803.00p 4.15%
NMC Health (NMC) 2,848.00p 3.98%
Stobart Group Ltd. (STOB) 298.70p 2.93%
RPC Group (RPC) 925.50p 2.21%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 399.10p 2.15%
ZPG Plc (ZPG) 369.30p 2.04%
Sophos Group (SOPH) 536.00p 1.90%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Greene King (GNK) 566.00p -14.11%
Marston's (MARS) 104.40p -8.02%
Rathbone Brothers (RAT) 2,450.00p -7.55%
Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 790.50p -5.89%
Halfords Group (HFD) 309.00p -5.82%
Polypipe Group (PLP) 386.90p -5.40%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 998.50p -5.09%
Howden Joinery Group (HWDN) 405.60p -4.99%
Lancashire Holdings Limited (LRE) 610.50p -4.68%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 160.20p -4.01%