A hefty investment from a Chinese peer has helped put public relations group Huntsworth (HNT) at the top of the FTSE leaderboard. China's BlueFocus Communications is to take a 19.8% stake in Huntsworth for £36.5 million. It is paying a 10.5% premium for the shares in order to strengthen an existing working relationship between the two companies. House broker Numis says the deal is 'transforming' in terms of the group's digital exposure, emerging markets capability and balance sheet.
Patent expiries hit pharma giant AstraZeneca (AZN) in the first quarter with its sales falling 12%. The company was down 2.6% to £32.99 after its revenues in the first three months of the year dropped to $6.3 billion. This led to a 25% drop pre-tax to $2.2 billion.
Spirit Pub (SPRT) advanced 3.6% to 64.25p after management gave an upbeat outlook statement in the company's half-year results. Although pre-tax profit fell from £19.4 million to £12.7 million, the market clearly likes news that the pubs operator is investing in its estate and striving to improve operational efficiency – something it was guilty of neglecting when previously owned by Punch Taverns (PUB).
It was also the outlook statement driving shares in Styles & Wood (STY), sadly in the opposite direction to Spirit. The shop fitter slumped 12.5% to 7.88p after saying 'it is difficult to predict the outcome for 2013' and flagging a reduction in order intake in recent weeks.
Go-Ahead Group (GOG) saw its shares dip 0.13% to 1,529p after the bus and train operator announced that full-year expectations remain unchanged with the group on track to deliver full-year results in line with expectations. The interim management statement for the period from 30 December 2012 to 24 April 2013 prompted notes from Investec, which reiterated a 'buy' rating on the £653 million cap while Panmure Gordon restated its 'hold' rating.
Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus (AERL) fell 2.82% to 1.38p after a trading update pointed to weaker UK trading. The outlined plans to deploy three Boeing 757s on transatlantic routes starting early in 2014 following an 8.6% rise in long-haul revenues which bolstered first-quarter turnover by 3.3% year-on-year at the Dublin-based carrier.
LED lighting developer Dialight (DIA) reckons it will exceed 50%-plus industrial lighting revenue growth this year. The £404 million company has also set-up a joint venture in Brazil with local lighting expert Laercio Pereira. This had investors make a beeline for shares, sparking a near 4% rise to £12.92, or 28% up in 2013.
Server replication technology developer WANdisco (WAND:AIM) continues to astound, with maiden full-year figures a beat on analysts hopes. News of a landmark first Hadoop platform client (an unnamed UK telco) is also great news, and proof that the Sheffield and Silicon Valley-based firm's big data ambitious are anything but pie in the sky. The shares add 22.5p to 802.5p, building on its rampant success since June's IPO at 180p (read Shares' interview here). We'll have more comment on the website later today.
Better-than-expected trials of its SensiumVitals sensor technology saw connectivity chip designer Toumaz (TMZ:AIM) jump nearly 12% to 4.75p. The pilot study at Saint John's Health Center, Santa Monica, US, showed that early spotting of declines in patient health slash the chances of needing expensive new treatments, saving an average $9,004 per patient, per stay. The £55 million cap also posted full-year 2012 figures, significantly skewed by last year's Frontier acquisition.
Things seem to be going from bad to worse for translation and data management tools supplier SDL (SDL). A disappointing first-quarter update showed the expected slide on tech revenues, but it is the shock slowdown for data analytics, one of the technology space's hot spots, that catches the market on the hop. The shares tumbled over 4% to 368.9p, marking a 33% collapse since mid-February.
A reassuring trading update following earlier mine disruptions helped Mwana Africa (MWA:AIM) to regain the market's support. The shares jumped 10% to 4.1p.
Life science company ValiRx (VAL: AIM) jumped 5.2% to 0.5p after the Australia regulator granted a patent for its lead product. The company, which focuses on cancer diagnostics and therapeutics for personalised medicine, has won the patent for VAL201, which has shown efficacy in prostate, breast and ovarian cancer models.