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MARKET REPORT: Lord Cruddas £60m poorer as CMC shares collapse

CMC said the number of commercial customers fell by 7% and was suffering from rising costs

Tory peer Lord Cruddas and his wife watched nearly £60m wipe out their fortunes as CMC Markets tumbled.

The rags-to-rich businessman, who founded the trading company in 1989, saw the value of his stake decline as clients struggling to get inflation and war in Ukraine under control left the platform -form.

In an update for the six months ending in late September, CMC said the number of business customers fell 7% and was hurt by rising costs.

CMC said the number of commercial customers fell by 7% and was suffering from rising costs

CMC said the number of commercial customers fell by 7% and was suffering from rising costs

CMC has benefited from an increase in business activity during the pandemic as Britons have looked for ways to make money and pass the time. But as lockdown restrictions eased, activity on the investment platform dwindled.

And its expansion plans are proving more expensive than expected. Operating costs were £106.3m, up 28% on the same period last year. The shares fell 12.7%, or 34p, to 234p.

Cruddas, a former Tory Party treasurer and donor, and his wife Fiona together own 62% of the company, worth £407.5million.

The FTSE 100 fell 0.25%, or 18.25 points, to 7351.19 while the FTSE 250 was down 1.77%, or 343.48 points, to 19,112.40, defense stocks rallying after a Russian-made missile killed two people in Poland near the border with Ukraine.

The strike fueled fears that NATO member Poland could be drawn into the war. But President Andrzej Duda said: “There is no indication that this was an intentional attack on Poland.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also said a Ukrainian air defense missile was the probable cause, although “Russia bears ultimate responsibility” for its attack on Ukraine.

BAE Systems shares rose 4.2%, or 31.2p, to 769.8p while Babcock added 0.1%, or 0.4p, to 280.8p.

Software giant Sage ended its financial year in style, with revenue rising 5% to £1.95bn for the year ending September, as its enterprise cloud division soared 24 %. The shares added 7.3%, or 55.4p, to 811.2p.

Mr Kipling and Bisto owner Premier Foods rose in the first half of the year to October 1 as more consumers stay home rather than eat out. Revenue rose 6.2% to £419m and profit rose by more than a tenth to £47m. But the shares fell 2.3%, or 2.6p, to 108.4p.

Stock watch: Kromek

Kromek has landed a contract worth almost £5 million with a UK government department for “biological threat detection systems”.

The Durham Group manufactures products capable of identifying cancerous tissue, portable nuclear radiation detection kits and dirty bombs.

Boss Arnab Basu said: “We believe that technologies capable of providing near real-time intelligence on emerging threats will be a critical part of strategies.”

The shares rose 14.2%, or 1.15p, to 9.25p.

British Land saw the value of its estate fall 3% to £9.6bn amid rising interest rates as it fell 1.1%, or 4.4p, to 391 ,7p.

At Vodafone, investors cheered the telecoms giant’s launch of a share buyback program worth up to £580m. It rose 1.3%, or 1.27p, to 97.16p.

Meanwhile, Hill & Smith hailed strong demand after the safety fence maker said profit for the year was expected to top £89.7million. It climbed 5.3%, or 58p, to 1150p.

Serco sank into the red even though it won a £200m contract with the Ministry of Defense to provide services to the Royal Navy. Its share price fell 0.7%, or 1.2p, to 164.9p.

Tullow Oil fell 0.4%, or 0.2p, to 47.3p after the energy company’s production forecast for the year fell below 2020 levels.

It expects to have produced 61,000 to 62,000 barrels of oil per day by the end of 2022 – down from a previous range of 60,000 to 64,000, and a far cry from 74,900 in 2020.

Kainos rose 4.8%, or 69p, to 1510p after Berenberg upgraded the IT company’s rating to ‘buy’ on hold and raised the target price to 1700p from 1200p.

Deliveroo fell 7.1%, or 7.02p, to 92.58p after ending a seven-year stint in Australia. The online delivery company put its subsidiary there into voluntary administration because it said the business could not become profitable without “considerable financial investment”.

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