Two significant stakes in plc companies have been sold. Retail powerhouse Sports Direct International (SPD) cheapens 6.3% to 837.5p after owner Mike Ashley surprises the City by selling over £200 million worth of shares at 850p just days after a row over his bonus payment. Stock Spirits (STCK) falls 8.1% to 282.75p as Oaktree Capital offloads a 36.8% stake in the vodka producer at 275p.
Analysts upgrade forecasts for Matchtech (MTEC:AIM) after the recruitment consultant says full-year results will be better than expected. The engineering specialist is reaping the benefits of a recovery in the permanent jobs market. We picked the stock as one of our favourite recruiters in last month's sector report on the staffing industry. Matchtech rises 2.7% to 620p. We take a closer look at the recruiter in this news analysis.
Oil explorer Sterling Energy (SEY:AIM) falls 20.9% to 35.5p as drilling results offshore Cameroon disappoint. The Bamboo-1 well on the Ntem concession fails to uncover hydrocarbons in commercial quantities and with few other catalysts on the horizon the shares retreat to the value of its $120.8 million of cash. We look at the situation in more detail here.
Specialty chemicals outfit Victrex (VCT) slips 0.5% to £19.99 after management at the £1.7 billion cap tell investors they are 'mindful of a much tougher year-on-year comparative for the second half'.
NetPlay TV (NPT:AIM) slumps 8% to 18.62p despite unveiling a record quarter for the first three months of 2014. Investors are spooked by the likely hit to earnings from tax changes in the UK, despite the issue having been well flagged by the entire gambling industry over the past year. NetPlay details way in which it will reduce the financial impact but it is clearly doesn't install enough confidence in the market.
Although adjusted pre-tax profit for 2013 marginally beats analyst expectations, video game language translation specialist Keywords Studios (KWS:AIM) retreats 3.8% to 149p. We'd put this down to profit taking given the 50%+ rally in the shares between December and March. We highlighted the stock's attractions in a 'Griller' article at 106p last October.
Models and collectibles group Hornby (HRN), where new CEO Richard Ames is charged with a turnaround, gathers up 0.5p at 80.75p on a somewhat mixed pre-close trading update. Although fourth quarter foreign exchange losses will result in a £1.2 million full-year loss, improved trading is anticipated this year.
Vending machines operator and recent bid target SnackTime (SNAK:AIM) rebounds 14.6% to 11.75p on a well received year-end trading update. Results for the year to March will show £1.3 million of EBITDA on £19 million sales and investors like news that the sale of in-cup hot drinks packing business Drinkmaster is drawing near.
Indian unconventional gas play Oilex (OEX:AIM) gains 8.7% to 4.38p as it announces progress on a key well aimed at proving up the potential of its Cambay field. The company is set to test the target reservoir section on the tight gas development.
Mobile marketing is ramping up nicely for specialist InternetQ (INTQ:AIM). Revenue, pre-tax profits and cash generation all rise sharply in 2013, sparking a 4% share price hike to 395p. Particularly impressive is the rampant revenue growth in Latin America, up from €22,000 to €9.1 million, flagged by Shares first in January and earlier this month.
Business telecoms group Daisy (DAY:AIM) issues a short trading update saying it remains on track to meet expectations of £353 million revenue and £29 million of free cash flow. But the shares remain flat at 188p with no word on previous takeover speculation by Virgin Media, which Shares recently covered.
Cancer-focused therapeutic company ValiRx (VAL:AIM) falls 1.6% to 0.2p despite forming a joint venture with Tangent Reprofiling to reduce the development risk of its lung cancer drug. ValiRx owns 60% of the venture for an £110,000 payment to Tangent.