London’s FTSE 250 was 0.20% higher at 20,706.34 in afternoon trade on Thursday, with Dunelm leading the charge upward.
Shares of the homeware retailer surged after it said full-year pre-tax profit was set to come in higher than previous expectations.
AJ Bell analyst Russ Mould said: “A lot can happen in two months in the world of retail and in Dunelm’s case the winds have changed in its favour. A trading update in October was mixed with fairly lacklustre sales growth following a much stronger period earlier this year. That may have simply been a blip with the homewares seller now much more upbeat, although it doesn’t provide any sales figures.
“Key to its latest bullish trading update is a good customer response to its new website. That’s going to be a huge relief to the company as there is always a fear that new IT projects won’t work properly on initial deployment.”
Aston Martin Lagonda shares were driven higher by a report that Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll – father of Formula 1 driver Lance Stroll – was preparing to bid for a major stake in the luxury car maker.
Interdealer broker TP ICAP rose after it was initiated at ‘overweight’ by JPMorgan analysts.
Down at the other end of the leaderboard, investment platform AJ Bell was on the back foot even as it reported record pre-tax profit in its first set of results as a listed company.
Analysts from Shore Capital noted that the investment platform’s revenue of £104.9m and profit before tax of £37.7m had both exceeded consensus expectations, while they also complimented the company’s “impressive business model”.
Stagecoach was knocked lower by a downgrade at Liberum, while IG Group lost ground as the online trading provider said net trading revenue for the first half was set to slip to around £250m from £251m last year.
Royal Mail was in the red as its stock went ex-dividend, while Hochschild was hit by a downgrade to ‘neutral’ from ‘buy’ at UBS.
FTSE 250 – Risers
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 991.50p 19.17%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 588.00p 16.90%
Premier Oil (PMO) 94.08p 4.56%
Workspace Group (WKP) 1,130.00p 3.86%
Plus500 Ltd (DI) (PLUS) 791.80p 3.29%
TP ICAP (TCAP) 400.20p 2.59%
Network International Holdings (NETW) 583.00p 2.46%
Genus (GNS) 3,180.00p 2.45%
Equiniti Group (EQN) 197.00p 2.23%
Hammerson (HMSO) 302.00p 2.17%
FTSE 250 – Fallers
AJ Bell (AJB) 387.00p -5.15%
Stagecoach Group (SGC) 128.10p -4.40%
IG Group Holdings (IGG) 664.60p -3.57%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 123.25p -3.56%
Royal Mail (RMG) 212.80p -3.49%
Investec (INVP) 424.60p -3.28%
PureTech Health (PRTC) 255.00p -3.04%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 159.60p -2.92%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 138.75p -2.70%
Sirius Minerals (SXX) 3.50p -2.40%