London stocks edge lower in early trade onTuesday with falling residential and commercial property issues outstripping gains among resources outfits. Traders are looking to UK inflation data mid-morning. Wall Street was lower overnight, while Asia was up. Europe is mildly lower.
The FTSE 100 index slips 12 points to 6,187.
Global online fashion store ASOS (ASC:AIM) is in vogue, bid up 5% to £35.74 on interims demonstrating improving momentum in the business and coaxing analysts into upgrading full-year earnings estimates. New CEO Nick Beighton, who has taken the tough decision to close down ASOS' loss-making Chinese operations, reports 25% growth in UK sales, says international customers have responded well to lower prices and also confirms the running Play of the Week is on track to achieve annual revenue and margin guidance.
Equipment rental play Ashtead (AHT) slides 4.2% to 807p as analysts at HSBC downgrade the stock from 'buy' to 'hold'.
Ferrum Crescent (FCR:AIM) soars by 103.5% to 0.3p after completing due diligence on lead/zinc projects in Spain. Chairman Justin Tooth believes that the Toral and Lago assets ‘both hold significant potential for the generation of shareholder value’.
An upbeat forecast sends testing kit-maker EKF Diagnostics (EKF:AIM) 13% higher to 14.1p, after the company made a £300,000 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) loss in 2015 compared to a £6.7 million profit a year earlier. Management expect EBITDA of up to £4 million in 2016.
Heart monitor-maker LiDCO (LID:AIM) falls 11.4% to 7.7p on making a £340,000 pre-tax loss in the year to 31 January 2016. Fully stocked customers buying fewer devices and disposables is to blame, highlighting the need for the company to win more customers outside of the UK.
Investors are getting increasingly comfortable with the growth story at self-styled 'Sofa Carpet Specialist' ScS (SCS), marked up 3.3% to 200.1p on interims showing growth across all areas of the business and a narrowed loss before tax. Buoyed by strong trading over Easter, CEO David Knight now expects full-year profits to be 'modestly ahead' of forecasts upgraded as recently as January.
Indonesian palm oil-to-Aussie beef cattle producer M.P. Evans (MPE:AIM) cultivates a 4.9% gain at 435p despite announcing a drop in profits in a year of significantly lower palm oil prices. Forward-looking investors welcome news the palm oil market 'has staged a welcome recovery from the low levels of 2015' in early 2016, while Australian beef cattle prices remain at historically strong levels.
PR and marketing firm Next Fifteen Communications (NFC) is up 4.8% to 252p as 2015 numbers beat forecasts. Revenue is up 18.9%, operating margin increases 1% to 12.7% and the dividend is hiked 20% to 4.2p.
Financial services recruitment specialist Michael Page (MPI) dips 0.9% to 413p as growth in net fee income (NFI), a key measure of performance, continues to slow. NFI falls to 3.6% in the first quarter of 2016, down from 5.3% in the final quarter of 2015. Performance in the UK was flat though gained an encouraging 10.3% in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, PageGroup's largest market.