Analysts are forced to downgrade earnings forecasts for John Menzies (MNZS) after a disappointing trading update. The shares fall 7.4% to 759p as the support services group flags a weak turn in its distribution arm. Business hasn't been very good with ancillary revenues, sticker collections and even its growing marketing services arm doesn't look like it will meet previous expectations.
Concentrating on the cheap end of the broadband and calls market seems to be paying off in the short-term for TalkTalk (TALK), up 10% to 274.4p. The telco raises revenue guidance and its dividend at the half-year despite falling into the red. We'll have more on the company and its place in the emerging broadband wars on the website later.
UK mobile giant Vodafone (VOD) posts largely in-line half-year figures showing a rough 4% decline in services revenue. Talk of possible margin pressure in the second half is offset by increasingly optimistic commentary on Europe, where it has been struggling for two years or more, leaving the shares 1.7% up at 231.15p.
Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) falls 1.4% to £16.26 as its latest drug Darapladib has failed to stop heart attacks and strokes in its Phase III clinical trials. The company has not abandoned the drug and is looking at new uses for the treatment.
Scientific instruments manufacturer Oxford Instruments (OXIG) jumps 11% to £13.64 after announcing stabilising half-year results and unveiling a 500p per share, or £159 million, takeover offer for high-specification cameras designer Andor Technology (AND:AIM). That's a 25% premium to Andor's close yesterday and sparks its shares to leap 90p to 490p, although management have not yet agreed the deal.
Electronic products distributor Premier Farnell (PFL) rises 6.6% to 242.4p after a bullish trading update shows third quarter sales growth in all regions apart from the Americas. Investors no doubt like the comment from chief executive officer Laurence Bain that he expects Farnell to grow its 'active customer base, gain market share and position the business for enhanced financial performance'.
Estate agent Countrywide (CWD) dips 1.2% to 531.5p after private equity group Apollo sold its 10% stake. That leaves 28% of the company still left in private equity hands. Analysts note that lock-ins expire today, so further placings of stock are likely.
Irish aggregates giant CRH (CRH) rises 3.2% to £16.09 after the £11.3 billion cap reported a 2% rise in like-for-like sales growth in the third quarter.
Having thrived during the economic downturn as it helped redundant individuals prepare to find another job, Savile (SAVG:AIM) has struggled during the past few years as the jobs market recovers. It is a counter-cyclical recruitment play which has seen profits dry up during the revival of the UK economy. Staffing rival Penna Consulting (PNA:AIM) has taken advantage of this market weakness by making a 7p per share cash takeover offer. The deal is at a 115% premium which explains today's strength in Savile's share price, up 92.3% to 6.25p.
Pension provider Just Retirement (JRG) is returning to the stockmarket at 225p a share, valuing the business at some £1.1 billion. It starts trading on the main market on Friday (15 Nov) four years after a Permira-backed buy-out took it private. The company raises £343.2 million from the float.
Commercial property specialist Workspace (WKP) rises 1.5% to 507.7p on strong interims. Pre-tax profits at the provider of flexible work space increased four-fold to £100.8 million year-on-year on the back of an 8% rise in pricing. This funded a 10% rise in interim dividend to 3.5p for the six months to October.
Industrial fasteners group Trifast (TRI) continues its stellar run with the shares up 2.4% to 84.2p on strong interims. Revenues for the six months to 30 September are up 6.6% to £65.3 million and the dividend at 0.4p is ahead of expectations.
Investors react to dilution at Cluff Natural Resources (CLNR:AIM) – the shares down 18.7% to 3.15p on news of a £2 million placing to fund the development of is underground coal gasification assets in the UK. The new shares were priced at 3p and the proceeds will be used across its portfolio of assets which are found in the Firth of Forth, Scotland; the Loughor Estuary in Wales; Dee Estuary, in North Wales and Merseyside; and at Whitehaven in Cumbria.