January 24, 2019 / 7:44 AM / 6 months ago

Trade tensions drive client activity at CMC

A trader works at his desk whilst screens show market data at CMC Markets in London, Britain, January 16, 2019. REUTERS/John Sibley

(Reuters) - CMC Markets Plc (CMCX.L) said trade tensions between Beijing and Washington boosted client activity on its online trade platform in the third quarter but contracts-for-difference revenue fell due to new regulatory curbs.

The company - headed by Peter Cruddas, one of the City of London’s most prominent supporters of Britain’s exit from the European Union - said retail client activity remained steady with client money remaining at similar levels to the first half despite the regulatory clamp-down.

“After the first full quarter following the introduction of the ESMA (European Securities and Markets Authority) measures, we now have a better understanding of changing client behaviour and are adapting our model accordingly,” Cruddas said in a statement.

FTSE 250 firm CMC and its rivals have been struggling as regulators in European Union and Britain tighten rules on sale of products that earlier let retail clients make risky bets.

(Graphic: UK online trading platforms look to shrug off tough final quarter - tmsnrt.rs/2B0OygZ)

The company said third-quarter CFD net revenue improved over a “particularly challenging” second quarter and stuck to its forecast for the year. CFDs give investors exposure to price movements in securities without owning the underlying asset.

CMC Markets’ positive update comes after larger peer IG Group Holdings Plc (IGG.L) saw its shares slump this week following a fall in first-half earnings as the regulations kept some traders off its trading platform.

However, shares in Plus500 Ltd (PLUSP.L) have fared better than CMC Markets and IG, being the only one to end 2018 with gains. It said last month it expects its 2018 results to top market expectations.

According to one market indicator, shares in CMC were expected to rise between 2 and 3 percent after the opening bell on Thursday.

Reporting by Muvija M and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva

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