Car parts-to-bicycles seller Halfords (HFD) pedals 9.7% north to 484.4p as solid full-year figures and a better-than-expected fourth quarter sales performance drive earnings forecast upgrades. In recovery mode under CEO Matt Davies, the running Shares Play of the Week's retail like-for-like sales grew 7.6% last year, with cycling products the standout performer.
Structurally-challenged mother and baby products purveyor Mothercare (MTC)has secured greater headroom on its debt facilities, allaying fears over the prospect of a deeply discounted rights issue. Relief at the news sends the bombed-out shares bouncing almost 20% (27.5p) higher to 166.25p, as we discuss in this article.
Royal Mail (RMG) falls 5.6% after the mail carrier's full year like-for-like margin slipped to 4.2% in the 12 months to the end of March from 4.4% a year earlier as competition in the parcels business intensifies. Read our news analysis on the industrial transport group.
Electronic components distributor Electrocomponents (ECM) falls 4.6% to 275.6p as 2% sales growth in the first seven weeks of its new financial year looks weak. The shares have been trading above 20 times forecast earnings which looks excessive against today's results, hence we are not surprised to see the stock fall.
Under the cosh semiconductor designer Imagination Technologies (IMG) jumps 6.9% to 223.5p after striking an Internet of Things development agreement with US IT services heavyweight Oracle. The deal will see the UK firm develop its MIPS CPU architecture for 'data centre-to-device' technology. Imagination's shares have come under pressure as competition in the semiconductor space intensifies, falling from over 700p since March 2012, although things seem to be improving now.
Consumer goods giant Unilever (ULVR) edges 19.5p lower to £26.75p, despite selling its US pasta sauce business including the Ragu and Bertolli brands for $2.15 billion to Japanese condiments maker Mizkan.
Beer brewing behemoth SABMiller (SAB) rises 4.1% to £33.93 as resilient annual numbers to March impress. Despite facing currency headwinds and tough European and North American markets, the Grolsch-to-Miller Genuine Draft maker's figures show strong margin expansion and pre-tax profits 2% ahead at $5.7 billion, with growth driven by developing markets.
Clover-to-Cathedral City brand owner Dairy Crest (DCG) cheapens 3.3p to 456.7p. Despite churning out in-line annual numbers, analysts downgrade forecasts on the challenging outlook for its spreads and dairies business.
Discounter B&M European Value Retail, chaired by Tesco's (TSCO) legendary Terry Leahy, announces its intention to float. Trading under the B&M fascia in the UK and as 'Jawoll' and 'Hafu' in Germany, the profitable company reckons 66% of the UK population doesn't have access to a B&M store, implying expansion scope aplenty.
Defence technology firm QinetiQ (QQ.) creeps up 1.6% on finals which are marginally ahead of expectations. Full-year underlying profit fell 21% to £132.7 million but was ahead of the consensus forecast of £127 million and the dividend is hiked 21%. On the flip-side a goodwill impairment of £84 million will be recognised in the current financial year relating to the disposal of the US services business.
Oil industry software provider and consultant KBC Advanced Technologies (KBC:AIM) gains 2.5% to 122p as it announces a £24 million placing to target more capital intensive, higher margin projects. The new shares were placed at 115p a share, a 3.3% discount to last night's close.
Pubs operator Young & Co's Brewery (YNGA:AIM) rises 2.2% to £10.50 as full-year results please the market. Pre-tax profit is up 24% to £26.6 million and it is the seventeenth year in a row for rising dividends.
Blood monitoring specialist Deltex Medical (DEMG:AIM) falls 12.7% to 12p as it launches a £4 million placing at 11p and a 1-for-18 open offer to raise a further £1 million to expand its team after growing demand from US hospitals.
Property website Zoopla has joined the growing list of companies planning to float. Estate agency Countrywide (CWD) improves 1.7% to 540.2p on its plans to sell some of its shares in the company, while LSL Property Services (LSL) rises 0.5% to 406.5p on a similar intention. The big investor in Zoopla is Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) which owns 52.6% of the business. It will also reduce its stake at the float. That news, combined with interim result, sends the media giant up 7.5% to 897p.
Wound care specialist Tissue Regenix (TRX:AIM) improves 3.3% to 23.5p on a decision by Medicare & Medicaid in the US to widen the use of its products to health centres outside of major hospitals from January.
Investors like to look of running Shares Play of the Week Earthport (EPO:AIM), the stock up 4.5% to 46p after the UK cross-border payments company reveals investment house State Street as its latest new customer. Earthport was flagged in Shares at 24p in December, and we updated our view earlier this month.