Gambling software expert Playtech (PTEC) slumps 9.3% to 738p after founder Teddy Sagi sold a 15% stake in the business at 725p per share. This is higher than the 9.9% flagged in an announcement after last night's market close. Sagi is still left with 33.6% of the company's shares.
Promotional goods expert 4imprint (FOUR) rises 2.7% to 693p after reporting a 45% rise in full-year pre-tax profit to £9.3 million. The dividend's gone up 10% and it now has £15.8 million net cash. Earnings are being driven by greater investment in marketing, which will we discuss in this news analysis.
Dublin-based building supplies specialist Grafton (GFTU) rises 1.3% to 677p as full-year results impress the market. Underlying pre-tax profit rises 35% to £64.9 million. We take a closer look at the news here.
Engineering buyout firm Melrose Industries (MRO) slips 5.6% to 309.4p as it signals sales growth will be difficult to achieve this year. The warning accompanies 2013 numbers which reveal a near doubling of pre-tax profit to £226.1 million. The Melrose business model is built on buying, improving and eventually selling underperforming businesses.
Recruitment bellwether Michael Page (MPI) falls 1.8% to 494.85p as currency headwinds stop analysts from upgrading earnings forecasts on the back of today's full-year results. There's good news with the first dividend growth in ages and better than expected net cash position. Yet as with most staffing consultants, the shares have already priced in a recovery in the jobs market, leaving Michael Page trading on a very high rating so it will take a lot of positive news catalysts to move the equity valuation.
Analysts are starting to warm to service provider Carillion (CLLN), helped by £370 million of new contract wins and a £150 million deal for its Dubai joint venture. Liberum Capital upgrades the stock from 'hold' to 'buy' following today's full-year results. It reckons the stock is at the end of its downgrade cycle and that cash flow is improving. Carillion rises 2.6% to 387.95p.
Oil firm SOCO International (SIA) dives 5.5% to 439p as it announces a 25% fall in pre-tax profits to $333.3 million due to exploration write-offs and curtailed production from its Te Giac Trang field in Vietnam. More positively, the company says it expects to return 50% of its free cashflow of $200 million to shareholders in 2014.
Specialist insurer Novae (NVA) rises 3.4p to 578.5p as it announces a 20p a share special dividend along with a 13% hike in normal dividends to 22.5p a share. This was despite the marine, aviation and political risk specialist’s pre-tax profits rising 7% last year to £42.8 million, which was 6% below expectations, reflecting higher costs and an £11.4 million foreign exchange hit.
Niche engineer Pressure Technologies (PRES:AIM) continues to advance up 7.3% to 633p as it announces an oversubscribed placing to raise £16.7 million – a significant chunk (£13.5 million) will be used to buy privately-owned Roota Engineering. Roota makes components used in oil and gas equipment and will increase Pressure's footprint in this sector.
Emerging markets-focused lender Standard Chartered (STAN) improves 3.3% to £13.17 as full-year results reassure investors. Espirito Santo says capital worries by the market have been exaggerated. The dividend is up 2% but pre-tax profits fall 7% to $6.9 billion on write-downs in Korea and there's also rising bad debts.
Pension specialist Legal & General (LGEN) slips 2% to 235.5p despite a 22% dividend hike to 9.3p a share in its full-year results. The running Play of the Week generated £1 billion net cash, 16% higher than in 2012, fuelled by a 78% jump in annuity premiums to more than £4 billion.
Funeral services provider Dignity (DTY) edges up 5.5p to £14.93 as it announces its tenth consecutive year of operating profits growth since its 2004 IPO. Full-year results reveal 15% growth in taxable profits to £52.9 million and a 10% increase in the final dividend to 11.83p. Dignity, which returned £62 million (108p) to shareholders in August, also says funerals specialist Yew, its biggest acquisition since float, is performing in line with expectations.
Manchester-based motor dealer Lookers (LOOK) accelerates 5.9p to 135.63p as forecast-busting annual numbers and a positive outlook statement prompt upgrades. The running Shares Play of the Week reports a 26.5% surge in taxable profits to £48.1 million, with strong recovery in the new car market buoyant new car market boosting the motor division and its parts division returning to growth.
Smaller fast-growing rival Cambria Automobiles (CAMB:AIM) also steps on the gas, gaining 6% to 57.5p on a bullish first-half trading update. Trading in the first five months of the financial year has been 'substantially ahead' year-on-year, suggesting half time figures to end-February will beat expectations, while orders for March are also running ahead of last year.
Global aviation support and aftermarket services provider BBA Aviation (BBA) falls 3.8% to 339.9p despite the group's respectable full-year performance in flat markets which saw the £1.7 billion cap turn in 2% revenue growth, underlying profit before tax up 8%.