On a very quiet day for large cap corporate news, the FTSE 100 advances 0.2% to 6571. There's a stronger performance from the mid caps with the FTSE 250 up 0.3% to 15,838. We explore this index in the latest issue of Shares, looking at ways to play momentum, income, growth as well as big themes to consider among the mid caps. This link will give you an overview of the magazine's contents.
The UK’s third largest drug-maker Shire (SHP) highlights the development risk pharmaceuticals run as its depression drug fails in the late stages of clinical trials. The speciality medicine company slips 1.9% to £30.83 after failing to prove that its hyperactivity drug Vyvanse can also treat people with depression. We look at the news in more detail here.
Niche electronics distributor and manufacturer Acal (ACL) rises 0.9% to 350p on the back of a robust trading update. Electronic sales since 1 October 2013 have risen 18% year-on-year. The order book has increased by 38%. Stockbroker N+1 Singer initiates coverage with a 'buy' rating and 380p price target. Acal is a running Shares Play of the Week.
A mere week after losing joint venture partner CNOOC-NEI, small cap Altona Energy (ANR:AIM) reveals a potential replacement in the form of Sino-Aus Energy. News that due diligence is underway over a potential RMB300 million investment to advance Altona's coal-to-liquids project in Australia drives the share price up 9.2% to 1.37p.
Mining explorer Stratex International (STI:AIM) nudges ahead 0.7% to 3.9p after news that well-known metals investor Sprott has raised its stake in the small cap to 10.11%. We've highlighted Stratex's rare position in the market over the past few years as it is one of the few juniors with a strong cash position, a key reason behind our Plays of the Week selection last year.
Trinidad oil producer Trinity Exploration & Production (TRIN:AIM) falls 10.4% to 121p as its El Dorado well fails to deliver a commercial discovery. The result is probably worth keeping in perspective – house broker Jefferies valued it at just 10p a share – a recovery in the share price depends on Trinity's ability to deliver medium-term reserves and production growth.
Argentinian conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon explorer Andes Energia (AEN:AIM) gushes up 10.9% to 61p as its Las Varillas x-1 well finds oil in the Vaca Muerta shale basin. Further tests will reveal if this crude can be produced in commercial quantities and the implications today's find has for the rest of Andes' portfolio.
North Sea focused Independent Oil & Gas (IOG:AIM) advances 13.2% to 23.2p as it confirms plans to drill an appraisal well on its Skipper discovery this year. This follows a change in ownership of the asset.
More evidence of solid execution at recruitment software supplier Dillistone (DSG:AIM) encourages investors, bidding the shares modestly 1.4% higher to 109p. The company says 2013 ended in line with expectations, which implies roughly £1.8 million pre-tax profit on £8 million sales, based on market estimates. Shares flagged the emerging story way back in December 2012 at 72p.
Popular cloud calls supplier Coms (COMS:AIM) bounces another 10% to 9p as the market awaits news of a possible acquisition and fund raising. The shares took a thumping earlier this week when acquisition talks were confirmed having doubled to 11p in the previous two weeks.