UK stocks bounce off a two-and-a-half-week lows in early trade on Wednesday as market sentiment rallies in response to a sharp sell-off. In early deals the benchmark FTSE 100 is up 53 poinmts, or around 0.8%, to at 6,826, after dropping 1.7% to 6,773.04 at close on Tuesday, its lowest finish since 13 March.
Online 'fast fashion' seller ASOS (ASC:AIM) continues to strut back into investors' good books, up another 5.4% to £38.24 as in-line interims and a positive second half outlook continue to rebuild confidence. We look at the risks and rewards of investing in the high-octane online retail sector here.
Banking group Barclays (BARC) leads the Footsie leader board and assorted financials higher, up 2.6% to 249.7p, with Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) also in demand, up 1.8% to 346.1p. Part tax-payer owned lender Lloyds Banking (LLOY) gains 1.4% to 79.3p on a upgrade from broker Jefferies. This follows yesterday’s news that he regulator has cleared the bank to buy-back some high-yielding bonds from retail investors at par value. The move will save Lloyds millions of pounds in interest payments with some of the bonds yielding as much as 16% a year. The bond-holders are planning to take the bank to court over the decision.
Among the bigger movers, a big reserves downgrade is having a punishing impact on Colombian oil producer Amerisur Resources (AMER:AIM) down 23% to 23p. The new report from independent consultant Petrotech Engineering sees proven reserves on its Platanillo field fall from 19.8 million barrels of oil (mmbo) in 2013 to 16.2 mmbo and proven and probable reserves fall from 32.8 mmbo to 24.6 mmbo. The reduction reflects the 2.3 mmbo which the company produced in 2014 but, more worryingly, relatively poor initial output from its Platanillo-15 and Platanillo-16 wells.
Troubled sand mining group Tricor (TRIC:AIM) slumps 54.2% to 0.63p as its shares come out of suspension following the long overdue publication of its financial results to year ending 31 March 2014. The resources group has secured a £200,000 working capital facility by placing shares at an astronomical discount of 0.38p.
Sugar distributor-to-bakery products manufacturer Real Good Food (RGD:AIM) sours 16.7% to 35p on a profit warning. Earnings for the year to March are expected to come in 'significantly behind current market expectations', with the fall in EU sugar prices continuing to hurt its Napier Brown and Garrett Ingredients businesses.
National Accident Repairs (NARS:AIM) advances 11.6% to 99p on a 100p takeover offer by private equity house Carlyle. The deal is recommended by the Witney, Oxfordshire-based company's board and comes under a month after claims outsourcer Quindell (QPP:AIM) sold its 25.3% stake in the business for 65p a share.
Daily Internet (DAIP:AIM), up 19.3% to 1.7p, says trading is ahead of market expectations. New contracts have been signed worth about £565,000 with one of the world's largest insurance companies.
Pub operator and brewer Marston's (MARS) is up 1.5% to 154.6p following yesterday's announcement it is acquiring Daniel Thwaites' beer division, which includes the Wainwright and Lancaster Bomber ales. The acquisition will add approximately £1.5 million to the group's profit before tax this year and significantly increase its share of the North West market.
Consumer products play PZ Cussons (PZC) perks up 2p to 344.5p after taking full control of Nutricima, its 50-50 Nigerian milk and milk powder joint venture with Glanbia (GLB), for £21 million in cash.