More disappointing data from China puts UK shares on the backfoot in early deals Tuesday, but the mood quickly swings into more positive territory after London stocks shunted lower for the seventh straight session on Monday. The benchmark FTSE 100 index rises 33 points, or 0.54% higher, to 6,216, despite plunging to an 18-month low the previous session.
Broker Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) heads the Footsie leader board, the stock 3% higher at 936.5p, despite the absence of news. Gold miner Randgold Resources (RRS) leads the loser board early on Tuesday, off 1.8% at £40.21.
Graphics and computer chips designer Imagination Technologies (IMG) is in strong demand on Tuesday as largely poor half-year results are not as bad as feared, even offering slim hopes of a stronger second half. Revenue slipped 3% to £82.2 million while operating profits more than halved, from £12.4 million to just £5 million, with digital audio arm PURE the ongoing millstone round Imagination's neck. But the shares rally close on 11% to 210.25p with investors eyeing second half improvements, although net debt of £27 million may start to worry the cautious.
While the rest of the E&P sector is under pressure thanks to continued weakness in the oil price Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) gains 7.1% to 53.5p as it confirms it is on track to hit its 2014 production target of 40,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd). The increase from the current 23,000-25,000 boepd is expected as the group connects the Shaikan-7, 8, and 10 development wells to existing production facilities.
Roadside assistance group the AA (AA.) opens slightly lower (0.5%) at 330p on third quarter financial results. Profit before tax rises 43% to £35.4 million in the three months to end-October and management says trading for the full year is in line with a consensus earnings per share target of 32.8p.
Embattled outsourcer Serco (SRP) adds 2.5% to 162p as Liberum reiterates a ‘hold’ rating on the stock. Analysts at the broker say they are cautious on contractors given the increasing likelihood of another coalition government following the May general election.
Sula Iron & Gold (SULA:AIM) crashes 36.4% to 1.58p as a resource statement doesn't live up to investors' expectations. The shares shot up last week as investors speculated it would contain a wealth of iron ore that wouldn't need processing – but today's announcement shows only a small percentage of the material qualifies as the so-called 'direct shipping ore'.
Online gambling company GVC (GVC:AIM) slips 1% to 487.5p despite reporting its sixth successive quarter of revenue growth with net gaming sales up 26% year-on-year and mobile gross gaming revenue per day up 150%. The board says it is confident of at least matching the recently raised market expectations for the full year.
Premium drinks brand owner Distil (DIS:AIM) loses fizz, off 19% to 0.85p on disappointing interims, not helped by disappointing sales for the Blavod black vodka brand in Eastern Europe. There's also news approval for brands in the US market is taking longer than expected, with the red tape delaying profitability.