On a quiet day for corporate news, Gem Diamonds (GEMD) caught the market's eye with a glittering $9 million sale of a 164 carat diamond (pictured above). It's also got a 103 carat diamond up its sleeve, ready to be sold at the next tender in June.
Lloyds Banking (LLOY) dipped 0.6% to 61.41p despite selling a book of securities backed by US home loans for £3.3 billion. The bank says it will book a £540 million pre-tax gain from the sale. Click here to read our recent comment on Lloyds and why investors should focus on earnings quality and not asset sales.
Disgraced coal miner Bumi (BUMI) has finally published its 2012 financial results after a messy period trying to find missing money from its Indonesian subsidiaries. Yet the shares remain suspended until it can tighten up internal systems. Once they do resume trading, we wouldn't be surprised to see a large fall in the share price as the results make horrible reading. It has incurred a $1.369 billion write-down on one subsidiary; and a $815 million impairment on another unit. The price at which it sold coal in the first three months of 2013 was 19% down year-on-year, although there's some joy in a 27% rise in production.
Professional services exchange Blur (BLUR:AIM) remains an investor hot ticket after securing $11.5 million (£7.6 million) of fresh growth funding at a virtual zero discount. The new cash, raised at 150p, just 3p off the prevailing pre-cash call price, will bulk up the sales teams to drive new business in a market it sees as worth $1 trillion worldwide. Key performance indicators continue to show rapid growth (click here for first quarter numbers) and investors are willing to chase the stock higher still, today adding 2.5p to 155.5p. Blur floated last October at 82p, and you can read Shares' interview with founder and chief executive Philip Letts here.
TUI Travel (TT.) slipped 1.1% to 359.2p after revealing plans to purchase 60 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft worth £4 billion. The delivery period will start in January 2018 and run until March 2023.
Shares in oil explorer Jupiter Energy (JPRL:AIM) were unchanged at 35.5p after the group secured $9 million of funding, through a convertible bond issue, to progress exploration plans on Block 31 in Kazakhstan.
North Sea heavy oil play Xcite Energy (XEL:AIM) gained 2.2% to 105.8p after it cancelled a rig contract to explore other options for the development of its Bentley field. Chief executive officer Rupert Cole says alternatives could 'further enhance the economics' of the project.
A substantial $1 million order from its Indian partner wasn't enough to shift the market's attention away from weak financial results from wireless controls microcap Cyan (CYAN:AIM). It reported declining sales and a £3.1 million operating loss. The shares fell 6% to 0.53p as the market fretted about Cyan's future which appears to be living on borrowed time given last year's £2.8 million cash outflow and just £1.6 million left in the bank.
Wasabi Energy (WAS:AIM) jumped 5% to 0.52p after securing a complicated $3.59 million funding deal for a new Asian market venture. Key plans to build 25 megawatt output from its patented Kalina Cycle power packs remain a distant hope, 2015 at the earliest.
Shares in micro cap beverages business Blavod Wines & Spirits (BES:AIM) were flat at 0.9p, despite positive news flow from the premium drinks play. Blavod has bought the BlackWood's gin and vodka, Jago's vodka cream liqueur and Diva vodka brands, which it has distributed since 2008, for £1 each. Furthermore, the £2.75 million cap flagged a three-year distribution deal with Hi-Spirits for BlackWood's, RedLeg Rum and Blavod Black Vodka across the UK and Ireland, a move which will enable management to focus on developing and marketing its owned brand portfolio.