LONDON (Alliance News) - London stocks were broadly lower early on Friday, with Plus500 registering a sharp decline and Pets at Home also falling. The FTSE 100 was just 2.02 points higher at 7,419.97.The FTSE 250 was down 71.73 points, or 0.4%, at 19,549.45 while the AIM All-Share was down 0.2% at 936.53.The Cboe UK 100 index was marginally lower at 12,587.03. The Cboe UK 250 was off 0.3% at 17,490.98, and the Cboe UK Small Companies was down 0.1% at 11,273.7.In European equities, the CAC 40 in Paris and the DAX 30 in Frankfurt were down 0.2% and 0.4% respectively in early dealings.FTSE 250 trading platform firm Plus500 fell 34% as it reported a sharp drop in first quarter revenue, with the figure coming in at USD53.9 million. This compares to USD154.8 million the prior quarter and USD297.3 million year-on-year.Plus500 blamed "subdued" financial markets for the drop, though the number of new customers did rise 10% quarter-on-quarter to 21,306. However, the figure is well short of the 72,960 new customers for the first quarter a year before.Low volatility led to a 64% quarter-on-quarter decline in average revenue per user, to USD550, with the figure also far below the year-on-year comparative of USD1,363.Looking forward, Plus500 said it is too early to predict the outcome for 2019 overall based on first quarter performance, but stressed underlying performance "remains robust".Plus 500 has also suffered from a ratings cut, with Berenberg reduced Plus500 to Hold from Buy. Pets at Home also slumped in the FTSE 250, down 14%, as Bank of America Merrill Lynch said Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has sold an 11% stake in the pet products firm.Canada Pension Plan, or CPP, is selling 54.2 million shares at 148 pence each, for a total of GBP80.2 million. Pets at Home shares were at 141.50p early Friday.Pets at Home will receive no proceeds, and Merrill Lynch did not say how many shares the pension plan now holds.In the FTSE 100, software firm Micro Focus was 0.8% lower as Barclays cut its rating to Equal Weight from Overweight. Back in the FTSE 250, Games Workshop rose 7.7%, the best midcap performer, as it said trading between the start of January and April 7 has "continued well", with revenue and profit both ahead year-on-year.Games Workshop, which makes Warhammer miniatures, has guided for pretax profit for its year ending June 2 of around GBP80 million, versus GBP74.5 million recorded in the prior year.The company has also declared a 35 pence dividend, meaning it will return 155p in total for its current financial year, compared to 126p in the prior year.National Express was up 0.7% as it announced it has taken a 60% stake in employee shuttle firm WeDriveU for USD84.3 million, and it has options to acquire the rest of the firm in tranches over the next three years.WeDriveU is Silicon Valley's "premier" shuttle company, National Express said, carrying almost seven million passengers a year.Entertainment One fell 2.7% as it confirmed it has raised GBP130 million by placing 28.9 million new shares at a price of 450p each, with shares trading at 461.60p Friday morning. The placing was announced after the market close on Thursday, with Entertainment One to use the funds to buy music firm Audio Network for GBP178 million.Elsewhere, Highland Gold was 1.8% lower as it reported a 1.7% drop in 2018 revenue to USD311.2 million, but pretax profit increased 7.9% to USD108.2 million, helped by lower expenses.Highland's production in gold and gold equivalent ounces for the year was 269,500 ounces, slightly lower than the 272,274 reported for 2017, but within guidance. Looking to 2019, Highland sees gold and gold equivalent production between 290,000 ounces and 300,000 ounces.The company said it was a solid year, and it is confident on further progress.In the US on Thursday, markets ended broadly lower, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing down 0.1%, the S&P 500 flat, and the Nasdaq Composite down 0.2%.Financial services giants JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo are due to report quarterly results before the start of Wall Street trading on Friday, marking the unofficial start of the earnings season.The Japanese Nikkei 225 index ended 0.7% higher Friday. In China, the Shanghai Composite ended marginally lower, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong is down 0.3%.China's exports bounced back in March, jumping 14.2% year-on-year, after a serious contraction in February, official data showed Friday. Exports reached USD198.7 billion, as China's economy appears to find its footing following months of pressure from a trade war with a US. In February, exports had plummeted more than 20%, having also been affected by the Lunar New Year holiday. Imports in March dropped 7.6% to USD166 billion.The UK government is standing down emergency preparations for a no-deal Brexit following the latest delay to Britain's withdrawal from the EU, Sky News reported Thursday.The decision to halt no-deal operational planning by officials was taken at a meeting chaired by Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill, according to a leaked email seen by Sky News.The email, which was said to have been sent to all civil servants in an unnamed "front line Brexit department", says the suspension was taking place with "immediate effect".The pound was quoted at USD1.3058, slightly softer from USD1.3075 late Thursday.A thin economic calendar has industrial production data from the eurozone at 1000 BST and US import and export prices at 1330 BST.
(Alliance News) - Highland Gold Mining Ltd on Tuesday said its first half revenue and gold sales rose year-on-year reflecting the performance from the recently acquired Valunisty mine in in the to