Shares in spreadbetting firm Plus500 rose more than 16 per cent this morning after the company said it expects full-year profits to beat market expectations, helped by a rise the popularity of cryptocurrencies.
The firm's Aim-listed share price was up 16.51 per cent at 1,027p in morning trading as it said it achieved record quarterly revenues in the final quarter of 2017 and around 246,000 new customers during the year, up from 104,432 the previous year
In a trading update, Plus500 said it experienced "strong volumes" in cryptocurrency contracts for differences (CFDs), which it first introduced in 2013. It said its "broad offering" allows customers to participate in the volatility of multiple cryptocurrencies without owning the underlying asset.
Read more: Plus500 has scored higher revenue once again
Bitcoin, which is notoriously volatile, neared a value of $20,000 last month after a stunning rise over 2017. Today, the cryptocurrency was trading at around $15,000 a coin.
"We are pleased to announce another strong period in both revenues and profits," said chief executive Asaf Elimelech. He added that the figures demonstrated the company's "ability to serve our customers' trading needs through product innovation and technology leadership".
"After re-engineering its marketing spend at the end of 2016, Plus has been able to attract higher-value clients and do so at a lower cost," said analysts at Berenberg.
"This level of growth in new customers, combined with the information available at the present time, makes it quite hard to analyse the component moving parts, but Berenberg believes revenue outturn at around $425m for 2017 looks reasonable, around 10 per cent above previous estimate of $386m.
"With the company trading so strongly in 2017, attention now turns to the rest of 2018 and regulation."
UK spreadbetting firms' shares were hit last month when European regulators revealed a tighter than expected clampdown on the sector.
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) said it wanted to dramatically reduce CFD limits to levels lower than previously laid out by Britain's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The FCA said it supported the latest ESMA proposals.
Plus500 will report its full-year results before the end of February.