FTSE 100 down, but Dunelm leads mid-cap rise

The British blue-chip benchmark slipped on Monday after rallying at the end of last week, but mid-cap companies performed well, with retailer Dunelm leading the pack after publishing a strong set of results in its second quarter.

The FTSE 100 slid by as much as 56 points to 6781 on Monday, falling by 0.8%, with it hovering at 6804 levels as of 4:15pm GMT.

The index lost the gains it made on Friday last week, as fears of a global economic slowdown and yet more uncertainty over Brexit ahead of the parliamentary vote next week make investors increasingly cautious.

Dunelm lead mid-cap rise

But while UK blue chips struggled on Monday, mid-cap companies faired relatively well, with British furnishings retailer Dunelm leading the action outside the FTSE 100 after wooing investors after upgrading its profits forecast following a strong Q2 performance.

Shares in Dunelm are up 14% to £6.63 as of 4:20pm GMT on Monday – the highest the stock has reached in the last 11 months.

The company was able to buck the trend seen across much of the UK retail sector, reporting strong Christmas trading with like-for-like sales increasing 5.7% in the three months to December.

After a strong second quarter, Dunelm is expecting its pre-tax profit for the first half of the fiscal year to hit £70 million, representing a £10 million increase from the same period a year ago.

The company also increased its full-year profits forecast to between £108 million and £112 million, up from £102 million last year.

Mid-cap players rally

The FTSE 250 is up 1% hitting a high of 17976 as of 4:35pm GMT on Monday, with mid-cap players picking up the slack left by their blue-chip rivals.

Among the index top performers were British carmaker Aston Martin climbing as much as 2.45% this session, with its share price hovering at £12.10 levels, up 1.71%, near the end of trading on Monday.

Meanwhile, online food delivery company Just Eat, and sports retailer JD Sports have both rallied by more than 3%, with share prices sitting at £6.08 and 375p respectively as of 4:35pm on Monday.

Investors will be looking closely at other UK retailers this week, including Sainsbury, Tesco, Superdry, Marks & Spencer, Ted Baker and DFS, with all of them set to publish trading updates over the next few days.

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