Car parts-to-bicycles seller Halfords (HFD) reversed 11% to 352.5p on analyst earnings downgrades and a 35% cut in the final dividend to 9.1p. Full-year results revealed a 22% decline in taxable profits to £72 million. Analysts took red pens to forecasts as the £790.2 million cap highlighted the need for additional investment to improve store standards and service levels and drive growth.
Part-nationalised lender Lloyds Banking (LLOY) fell 2.9% to 61.1p after selling £450 million of its shares in St James’s Place (STJ). The 77 million shares coming onto the market at 580p saw the wealth manager dive 9.7% to 577.5p. This is the second time this year the bank has reduced its stake in St James’s Place following its £520 million sale in March.
Electronic component distributor Electrocomponents (ECM) dipped 4.2% to 263.9p after reporting a 25.3% drop in pre-tax profit. The shares have enjoyed a strong run over the past few weeks and investors are now crystalising these gains given limited reason in today's results to be excited about the near-term future.
Paypoint (PAY) added 1.5p to 891.5p on a solid set of full-year numbers. Pre-tax profit has gone up by 10.9% to £41.3 million and shareholders are getting a 15p per share special dividend on top of their regular interim and final payouts.
Fellow leisure outfit Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) dipped 0.3% to 407.1p as the Harvester owner once again failed to resume dividends. Stockbroker Panmure Gordon says current trading is weaker-than-expected and reiterated a 'sell' rating.
Mothercare (MTC) fell 11.25% to 352.75p, despite the mother and baby products specialist reporting a large improvement in adjusted pre-tax profit of £8.3 million (2012: £1.6 million) for the year to 30 March. After accounting for one-off items, the business remained in the red and while international like-for-like sales skipped 5.6% higher, same-store revenues in the UK retreated by 3.6%.
It was a case of profit takers moving on newspaper publisher Daily Mail & General Trust (DGMT), off 1.8% following the publication of half-year results after a strong 60% three-month rally. Despite a 6% retreat in the topline, earnings per share were up 32% following a disposal of its regional newspaper business.
Cash and carry firm Booker (BOK) edged ahead by 0.2p to 129.9p on strong finals showing pre-tax profits up 13% to £101.4 million on sales 3.5% ahead at £4 billion. The food wholesale star, now setting about integrating its delayed Makro acquisition, also buoyed investors' spirits by raising the final dividend 15% to 2.25p.
Beer brewing behemoth SABMiller (SAB) lost some of its froth, falling 58p to £34.78 despite serving up in-line final results as investors fretted about news of softer trading in Columbia and a worsening consumer environment in South Africa.
Milk, cheese and butter supplier Dairy Crest (DCG) soured by 6p to 470.1p, despite serving up better-than-expected full-year results, as investors took profits after a strong rally over the past year. The Cathedral City-to-Clover brands business delivered £50.6 million worth of pre-tax profits, ahead of broker Investec Securities' £48.2 million forecast.
Mobile content and commerce supplier 2ergo (RGO:AIM) plunged 23% to 3.25p after failing to nail down its latest cash call. The market has clearly lost patience with its constant cap-in-hand antics, its last fund raise required a massive 74% discount to get away.
Rugged handsets maker Belgravium Technologies (BVM:AIM) dived over 13.5% to 2.38p as the market feared the company could be going to the wall. The company admits to seeing no change in what it calls tough market conditions, although sceptics may argue that the £2.4 million microcap has got its product set completely wrong.