Profit takers moved on regional newspaper publisher Johnston Press (JPR), down 7.9% to 17.5p on a trading update. The top line continues to fall, down 11.4% on a like-for-like basis in the 18 weeks to 4 May as the deterioration in print advertising revenues shows little sign of moderating. But operating profits increased during the period following 2012’s cost-reduction restructuring drive, the first increase in profitability for the period in almost seven years.
The sharp drop in the gold price has prompted Petropavlovsk (POG) to push back development of a new processing plant by 12 to 18 months to take some pressure off its balance sheet. The market welcomed the move, sending its share price up 1.3% to 148p.
Casino operator Rank (RNK) dipped 2.7% to 161.5p after its trading update revealed a 2% drop in like-for-like sales in the 18 weeks to 5 May. This excludes a contribution from Blue Square Bet which was sold in April for £5 million.
Shares in funeral services provider Dignity (DTY) shed 1p at £14.45 after a strong run. The £825 million cap pleased with a better-than-expected first quarter update, showing sales up 11% to £67.8 million and 16% growth in operating profits to £25.4 million over the 13 weeks to 29 March. The company's strong start to the year reflects a rise in the number of deaths, which were 7% higher than the same period in 2012.
Platinum producer Lonmin (LMI) jumped 6.7% to 297.6p after half-year results implied that its recovery plan is running ahead of schedule. The company has lifted its guidance metal-in-concentrate production from 680,000 ounces to 700,000 ounces whilst maintaining sales guidance of 660,000 ounces due to near-term smelter capacity constraints.
Investors balked at a trading statement from service group Fiberweb (FWEB), sending its shares down 5% to 76p. It flagged 'mixed' trading conditions and said anticipated growth in operating profit may be 'somewhat constrained' by weak markets.
'Blow-out results confirm momentum,' is how analysts at Canaccord Genuity described full-year figures from video search engine Blinkx (BLNX:AIM). The market clearly agreed, sparking a 6%-plus share price rise to 113.5p, after the £411 million cap posted 73% acquisition-fuelled top line growth to $198 million, way above $180 million to $185 million guidance from February. 'These are exceptional results by any measure,' says Canaccord, and we're inclined to agree.
Insurance claims specialist Quindell Portfolio (QPP:AIM) attempted to draw a line under a disastrous week which slashed the shares by 55%, issuing a statement designed to respond to investors questions over outstanding debts, acquisition funding and future growth prospects. It also unveiled plans for a series of summer teach-ins to spell out its story in more detail. The shares rally 26% to 7.55p, having slumped from 13p last week on the back of emerging doubts about its business model (read here) in the wake of seemingly impressive full-year results.
Shares in Flybe (FLYB) rose 13.5% to 59p after press speculation concerning the likelihood of the Exeter-based low-cost carrier selling its Gatwick runway slots. Flybe has since confirmed such discussions.
Student accommodation provider Unite (UTG) improved 1.1% to 368.2p after issuing a positive update. Management expect to report a 3% rent rise for this year and has added a £13.9 million 378-bed development in Huddersfield to its portfolio.
Pharmaceutical Vectura (VEC) was up 2.7% to 95p after forming a joint venture in China. The agreement with pharmaceutical Tianjin KingYork and private equity firm Zendex Bio Strategy will see its inhalers sold in Asia’s largest economy. This introduces the company to almost 70 million asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) suffers. Vectura holds 35% of the venture worth £14.6 million.
Shares in AIM-quoted oil firm Europa Oil & Gas (EOG:AIM) slicked up 3.1% to 11.9p after a farm-out of its two licences offshore Ireland to US firm Kosmos Energy (KOS:NYSE) was approved by the Irish authorities.