The FTSE 100 is broadly flat on mixed corporate news following weakness in the US and Asia overnight.
Banking giant HSBC (HSBA) mitigates a worse than expected 45% fall in second quarter pre-tax profit as it unveils a $2.5 billion buyback. The shareholder return follows the sale of its Brazilian business and, despite profit of $3.61 billion coming in below the consensus forecast of $3.9 billion, the shares are up 3.4% to 499.25p.
Emergency power generator Aggreko (AGK) falls 10.6% to £11.01 as its interims include a soft profit warning. Full year guidance is maintained with the caveat that the group recognizes ‘the importance of securing key contract extensions and the seasonal weighting of its North American business to the second half’. Revenue in the first six months of 2016 is down 12% year-on-year feeding into a 31% pre-tax profit slump.
High street stalwart Next (NXT) is up 4% to £53.35 as the market chooses to focus on an improvement in second quarter sales over a slight reduction in full year guidance. Pre-tax profit is now expected to be between £775 million and £845 million against a previous range of £748 million to £852 million.
Price comparison site Moneysupermarket.com (MONY) is down 2.6% to 294.3p as it reveals alongside interims that chief executive Peter Plumb will stand down after nearly eight years in charge. Plumb will leave his post either at or before its May 2017 AGM. The numbers themselves are broadly positive with pre-tax profit up nearly a quarter year-on-year and the dividend hiked by 8% to 2.75p.
Computer games retailer Game Digital (GMD) dives 3.5% to 70.44p as a pre-close update reveals group revenue for the year to 31 July down 4% to £815 million with trade in the UK falling 13%. The company says it will ‘retain a cautious sales outlook for our retail markets’.
Iron ore producer Ferrexpo (FXPO) reports $142 million net income for the first half of 2016 and says pellet demand remains strong, helping to push up the shares 2.4% to 53.25p. Good cash generation has enabled the business to pay off the final instalments of $420 million debt earlier this week.
Science in Sport (SIS:AIM) sprints 13.7% higher to 62.5p after becoming the official sports nutrition supplier to USA Cycling (USAC), which is the governing body for all forms of competitive cycling across the pond.
Sausage casings maker Devro (DVO) falls 4.2% to 267.6p after reporting first half pre-tax profit down nearly 97% on costs associated with a restructuring of its manufacturing facilities. Underlying pre-tax profit is up marginally at £13.7 million.
A warning on softening rates and continued low interest rates sends casualty, property and marine insurer Novae (NVA) 2.3% lower to 794p. Its combined ratio – claims paid compared to premiums written – expandedto 96% from 89.8% in the 12 months to 30 June. The further below 100% the more profitable the insurer.
Life sciences specialist Avacta (AVCT:AIM) gains 1.7% to 88p on securing a patent in Europe for an affimer, which binds proteins together when formulating drugs. Exclusive rights in the US are expected to follow.
Ultrasound training provider MedaPhor (MED:AIM) climbs 6.3% to 42p on buying Inventive Medical, which provides equipment to the industry, for £3 million in shares. MedaPhor also announces that pre-tax losses were flat at almost £1 million in the six months to 30 June.
Ryanair (RYA) rises 0.6% to €11.86 as it shakes off the negative sentiment surrounding the airline sector by reporting a record month in July with 12% traffic growth. It also reports 96% load factor, which is the amount of customers using available seats. Wizz Air (WIZZ) also says July was a good month, reporting 16% rise in passengers and 92.7% load factor. Its shares ease back 0.6% to £15.50.
Micro cap derivatives broker Techfinancials (TECH:AIM) soars 52.7% to 12.98p as it says it will post first half revenue up 30% to $9.6 million with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization up 80% to more than $1 million. The company had a difficult first year on AIM in 2015 but today’s statement represents something of a turnaround in fortunes.