FTSE 250 Watch: mid-cap index boosted by Halfords’ rise

on Nov 7, 2013
Updated: Oct 21, 2019

iNVEZZ.com, Thursday, November 7: The FTSE 250 Index has risen today, boosted by another double-digit gain in a share price, this time from British car parts and bicycle retailer Halfords Group Plc (LON:HFD). Gold miner Centamin Plc (LON:CEY) came in second in Thursday’s list of risers with a gain of nearly eight percent to 59.65p as of 13:26 UTC. Yesterday’s top riser Moneysupermarket.com (LON:MONY) eased today, with its shares trading about one percent lower.

As of 13:32 UTC, the mid-cap index was 0.61 percent higher at 15,498 points.
**ECB cuts rates, BoE rates kept at record low**
The European Central Bank cut its main interest rate today to a record low of 0.25 percent. The move was in response to a surprise inflation drop to 0.7 percent in October, far below the bank’s target of just under two percent. The ECB maintained its deposit rate at 0.0 percent and trimmed the marginal lending rate to 0.75 percent from one percent.

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The mid-cap index eased to 15,466 points after the ECB’s decision, trimming its gains for the day to 0.40 percent.
Earlier today the Bank of England decided to keep its key interest rate at the record low of 0.5 percent. The move was a confirmation of BoE’s commitment to keeping interest rates low, until the country’s recovery is more firmly established.

Shares in Halfords Group Plc, a UK-based retailer of car parts and bicycles, soared 13.5 percent to 475.60p as of 13:38 UTC. The sharp rise reflected better-than-expected half-year results. The company reported today that its adjusted pre-tax profit rose 6.4 percent to £44.6 million in the six months to September 27. The result was well ahead of analysts’ expectations for a decline to £39 million. Sales were up 7.7 percent to £490.6 million.

Halfords’ performance was bolstered by strong bike sales, which increased 14.2 percent in the period. The group said that its car maintenance business had also done well.
The strong results underscore Halfords’ turnaround plan which focuses on investments in its online offering, staff training, new cycling ranges and store revamps to lift sales.

BBC News quoted Matt Davies, chief executive officer of Halfords, as saying: “These are early days in our three-year transformation plan but it is encouraging to see the retail business deliver a strong first-half performance.”
Trade these shares now through Hargreaves Lansdown from £5.95 per deal.
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**The FTSE 250 was 0.39 percent higher at 15,464.00 as of 14.34 UTC.**
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