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Cryptocurrency and margin trade clampdown takes shine off bumper half at Plus500

A boost from nervy financial markets and cryptocurrency trading sent interim numbers through the roof
Less scope to margin trade unless you are a professional

Plus500 PLC (LON:PLUS) shares hit the skids as the CFD Group cautioned an 'exceptional' first half performance would not be repeated.

A boost from nervy financial markets and cryptocurrency trading sent interim numbers through the roof.

READ: Plus500 sees up huge profits surge as crypto trading drives activity

Half year turnover jumped 147% to US$466mln as the number of active customers jumped 121% to over 248,000 while underlying profits almost doubled to US$349mln.

Shareholders got an almost six-fold dividend increase to US$1.3786 per share or US$157mln (US$27mln) in total.

“Plus500 is now the biggest CFD Broker in the UK, Germany, Spain and Australia (according to Investment Trends) , we grew our Active Customers in Australia fivefold and started operating in Singapore,” added chief executive Asaf Elimelech.

However, new trading rules on cryptos mean the ‘exceptional’ interim performance is unlikely to be repeated, he said, which sparked a bout of profit taking.

A European clampdown since August means leverage, or the multiple of an original investment a person can bet, is restricted to just two times for retail investors trading cryptos.

House broker Liberum described the first half performance as amazing, but predicted sales will now be disrupted until 2020, when the upgrade of clients from retail to professional (who are exempt from trading restrictions), kicks in.

Liberum’s target is 2,800p compared to 1,736p today, down 14%.

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