A quiet end to the week sees the FTSE 100 flat at 6,530 on a lack of big-name corporate news. The market is more interested in the imminent US jobs data.
On the UK markets, FTSE 100 oil explorer Tullow Oil (TLW) slicks up 1.8% to £10.52 on news of a significant oil discovery in the Barents Sea offshore Norway. We look at the details in more depth here.
Specialty insurer and reinsurer Lancashire (LRE) rises 2.5% to 756p as shareholders approve its proposed acquisition of Lloyd’s of London insurer Cathedral Capital. Management will hand over £266 million cash to private equity play Alchemy Partners and Cathedral’s board once the underwriting-strengthening deal is cleared by the regulator.
Recruiter Staffline (STAF) nudges ahead 2% to 566p on news that chief executive officer Andy Hogarth has sold 600,000 shares at an average price of 540p. Normally a director selling stock is bad news, but Hogarth is selling to meet institutional demand which we generally deem to be a positive as it shows massive support from the City.
Small cap resources group Stratmin Global (STGR:AIM) continues to struggle with efforts to build a commercial graphite mine in Madagascar. Its shares fall 13.7% to 15.75p after admitting that it won’t be able to produce a high-quality product this month, as previously hoped. It needs to do further processing test work and plant upgrades as presently it cannot produce a consistent quality product. We look at the situation in more detail here.
Investors are willing to swallow rising costs at healthcare software supplier EMIS (EMIS) for the time being, the shares adding 2% to 745p on otherwise robust interims. Double-digit revenue growth comes through partly thanks to market share gains, but a pay-off on the bottom line will be demanded down the line.
Shares in eProcurement microcap @UK (ATUK:AIM) shoot up 17% to a record 44.65p on news of an exciting deal with US payments giant Visa (V:NYSE). The pair are teaming up to form 'cloudBuy', a platform aimed at the Asia Pacific region where businesses and large organisations are crying out for a streamlined buying process. This comes just days after a promising 26% half-year revenue jump and greater confidence in future cashflows. The stock has rocketed from 10p in the past month.
Investment business Red Leopard (RLH:AIM) slumps 27% to 0.95p after announcing plans to buy a mining outfit with silver prospects in the US. It will issue 33.3 million new shares at 1.8p each. The surprise is that the prospects are located in a national park. Such locations are notoriously problematic when it comes to getting environmental permits.
Gas mask and dairy products manufacturer Avon Rubber (AVON:AIM) gains 2.2% to 491p on news of a Middle East contract to supply 52,000 of its C50 respirators and new MILCF50 filters. The £150 million cap expects to fulfil the order during its 2014 financial year, we last looked at the business in the wake of a last month's (16 Aug) trading update.
Shares in toys and games designer and distributor Character (CCT:AIM) clip ahead 6p (4.3%) to 144.5p on a soothing trading update. The £32 million cap flags in-line results for the year to August, with first-half losses reversed in the second half year, as well as solid growth in international sales.
Construction materials group Low & Bonar (LWB) nudges ahead 1% as the group unveils its acquisition of Slovakian geotextiles producer Texiplast for €18.9 million (£16 million). The small cap is raising £20.4 million to fund the Slovakian deal.