UK stocks edge higher in early trade on Friday ahead of what is likely to be another quiet session.
The FTSE 100 nudges close to the 7,000 mark, up around 26 points, or 0.4%, at 6,999 early on with corporate updates from a number of blue chips being warmly-received by investors.
Investors like the taste of Coca-Cola HBC (CCH), the soft drinks colossus clipping 3% ahead to £14.59 on a reassuring first quarter trading statement. The coke bottler's latest market missive shows initiatives to stabilise the top-line and return to growth are taking effect.
Housebuilder Bovis Homes (BVS) advances a fraction to £10.56 after hiking its dividend plans following a strong start to the year. Bovis says it now plans to pay out 40p per share, up from the 35p it had previously indicated.
Beer brewing behemoth SABMiller (SAB) froths up another 31.75p to £36.32. The running Shares Play of the Week announces its entry into the high-growth UK craft beer market through the acquisition of London-based Meantime, the brewer of London Pale Ale and Yakima Red, for an undisclosed sum.
Among the bigger movers, Packaging group Powerflute (POWR:AIM) surges 9% to 63.3p after saying its full-year results will be significantly ahead of market expectations. The £168 million cap, a Shares Play of the Week, says its coreboard and cores division has been particularly strong in the US, China and Nordic regions, while its packaging papers division is benefitting from healthy underlying market conditions and currency movements.
Restaurant group Richoux (RIC:AIM) climbs 10.3% to 21.5p on a 10.4% revenue increase to £12.7 million in 2014, driven by new site openings. The Dean's Diner owner says 2015 has started well and it plans to open three new sites this year with a further two already contracted for 2016. Pre-tax profit is down 76% to £420,000.
Industrial maintenance and repair kit supplier Brammer (BRAM) collapses 13% to 350p after warning that profits are likely to be lower than expected. The company blames tough market conditions and forex headwinds.
Allergy-focused drug-maker Circassia (CIR) falls 6% to 300.6p on plans to raise £275 million in a placing and open offer to buy asthma diagnostic specialist Aerocrine and bronchial drug-maker Prosonix.
News and mags distributor John Menzies (MNZS) gains 4.5% to 423p as it finally comments on stake building by activist investor Lakestreet Capital. ‘The board remains committed to maximising shareholder value and evaluates all options, including its corporate structure on a regular basis,’ chief executive Jeremy Stafford says in an AGM statement.
DekelOil (DKL:AIM), the 51%-owner and operator of a palm oil project in Ivory Coast, cultivates a 7p gain to 1.3p on news its kernel crushing plant has been shipped, a share price catalyst flagged up by Shares last month. Once operational in the fourth quarter, the plant will add another revenue stream to the micro cap's Ayenouan project.