Carpets and floorcoverings retailer Carpetright (CPR) cheapens 10.5p to 660p as the £446 million cap reveals it has been contacted by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in a developing fake pricing scandal. In a short statement, the Essex-based company says it has received a letter from the OFT, which is looking into its pricing practices and consumer protection legislation. The home improvements specialist insists 'there is no suggestion in the letter of Carpetright having behaved in a manner which breaches competition law', although it is reportedly one of six high street furniture and carpet retailers including ScS accused of misleading customers with fake prices.
The OFT believes these stores have carried out inflated 'reference pricing', advertising price cuts that weren't genuine. By touting reductions from previously-higher prices, which in some cases they'd never sold products at, customers were lured customers into thinking they were bagging bargains with competition lessened as a result. While Carpetright is expected to prove a prime beneficiary of the resurgent UK housing market, Shares has consistently raised questions over its frothy valuation.
Construction group Henry Boot (BHY) rises 5.1% to 196p on bullish half-year results. Pre-tax profit has risen from £5.5 million to £7.4 million year-on-year and the dividend's gone up 8.3%. We flagged up the group's potential in the new issue of Shares (published 22 Aug).
Haulier Stobart (STOB) falls 4.9% to 110.75p after flagging that interim results to be published on 24 October will feature exceptional restructuring and board change costs. We reckon the real reason behind the share price drop is merely profit taking after a strong rally since late June.
Midcap oil firm Afren (AFR) falls 4% to 140.1p as it reports a 16% year-on-year decline in first-half pre-tax profit to $260 million. Westhouse Securities notes investors may have also been disappointed by a lack of exploration results to accompany the numbers. We last looked at Afren in detail here ahead of last month's Ogo discovery.
Californian oil producer Sefton Resources (SER:AIM) falls 10% to 0.36p after issuing equity to raise £70,500 through its £15 million financing facility with Darwin Strategic. Funds will be used to fund the mandatory tank work and current legal costs. Sefton claims these are less than £100,000 and says it remained cash flow positive in the first half even once these costs are factored in.
Clinical services specialist Retroscreen Virology (RVG: AIM) climbs 3.3% to 312.5p after signing a £4.7 million research contract with an undisclosed global pharmaceutical company. Under the terms of the agreement, Retroscreen will conduct a respiratory syncytial virus challenge study to support the pharma's research and development.