UK stocks are on the front foot for the fourth day running on Tuesday as a string of disappointing economic data from Asia prompts stimulus calls. The FTSE 100 rallies 30 points, or 0.4%, at 6,702 in early deals. It has not closed above this level since 24 September when it settled at 6,706.27.
Royal Mail (RMG) heads the blue-chip leader board in early trade, the stock 17.5p higher, or 3.7%, at 485p ahead of interim results slated for tomorrow, 19 November. Analysts expect earnings for the year to March of around 34p a share, according to Morningstar data. The business controversially floated just over a year ago.
Insurance claims outsourer Quindell (QPP:AIM) tries desperately to draw a line under a controversial year as founder and chairman Rob Terry is forced out. He'll be followed out of the door by finance director Laurence Moorse and non-executive Steve Scott, ensuring exits for the three directors caught up in a recent share deal with little-known US business Equity First Holdings. Terry is also said he will duck margin calls. The shares respond with a 4% increase to 57.75p.
Set-top box maker Pace (PIC) shoots to near the top of the All-Share leader board, the shares up 5.3% at 349.6p, as the pay TV and broadband services group says it expects a record fourth quarter with profits and margins in the third quarter ahead of expectations.
High street bank Virgin Money (VM.) nudges a penny higher to 284p as unconditional trading begins in London’s newest listed business. The company was forced to slash its valuation to get the IPO away.
Health and safety kit maker Halma (HLMA) lifts its half year dividend 7% after reporting record interim results, including 7% organic profits growth. Encouragingly for the rest of the year, the company says that 'order intake since the period end has continued to be ahead of revenue and order intake last year.'
Aero-engineer Smiths (SMIN) eases 1.5% to £12.16 after saying that first-quarter underlying results will be lower than last year as growth in the medical division was offset by weakness in the detection and interconnect businesses.
Life insurer and a Shares running Play of the Week Prudential (PRU) gains 1.4% to £14.95 on a positive outlook following new business profits jumping 17% to £1.5 billion in the nine months to October.
Bookmaker Paddy Power (PAP) rises 1% to €61.65 as net revenue growth across its four divisions exceeds expectations. The number of active online customers is up 33% in Europe with the World Cup boosting customer acquisition by 23%. Total group revenue has risen 38% since 1 July. The board is backing ‘mid to high teens percentage growth’ in earnings per share for the full year, although it admits uncertainty remains over the impact of gambling regulations due next month.
Enterprise Inns (ETI) falls 2.6% to 124p after reporting flat profit before tax at £121 million. Like-for-like net income is up 1.4% in 2014, aided by the World Cup and good weather in early summer. The pub group says it remains cautious in the near-term, citing 'fragile' consumer recovery. MPs vote tomorrow on a 'market rent only option' for tied tenants, which stockbroker Numis says could undermine the beer tie to which almost half of Enterprise's profits relate.
Smallcap engineer Chamberlin (CMH:AIM) leaps 12p to 107.5, up 12.6%, as it seals a €26 million (£21 million) contract with an existing automobile manufacturing customer. Under the deal, Chamberlin’s Walsall foundry will manufacture 16 different components to be used in the customer's diesel car engines over a period of eight years.
Marketing group Chime Communications (CHW) is down 3.3% to 266p as it warns on 2014 profits thanks to delays on two contracts in its Sports division. Earnings forecasts are cut by as much as 20% but the shares have recovered from an earlier more significant fall perhaps reflecting the fact 2015 guidance remains intact, CanaccordGenuity retains its buy recommendation but cuts its price target from 385p to 370p and comments: 'the group is still set to deliver more than 20% profits growth, but this remains a disappointing outcome for a World Cup year'.
Oil explorer Tower Resources (TRP:AIM) drops 13.7% to 0.6p as it receives formal notice from the High Court of Kenya of a temporary injunction preventing the company from working on the Badada-1 well in which it has a 15% stake.
Russian hydrocarbons producer Urals Energy (UEN:AIM) gains 38.2% to 5.88p as it is notified by a Moscow court it has won its appeal against an earlier ruling that allowed a $44.7 million claim by a Cyprus firm to fall under Russian court jurisdiction, and it is also in advanced negotiations about the withdrawal of all litigation in a separate case between it and its founder and former chairman Viatcheslav Rovneiko.
European electricals retailer Darty (DRTY) sparks up 3.4% to 72.38p on the appointment of seasoned Carrefour (CA:FP) numbers man Albin Jacquemont as finance director.
Discounter B&M European Value Retail (BME) is marked 1.4% higher to 273.25p as better-than-expected maiden interims stoke profit upgrades. Chairman Sir Terry Leahy flags good momentum in sales, profits and cash generation during the half, as the recent main market debutant pushed ahead with its rapid store roll-out.
Minimally invasive tool-maker Surgical Innovations (SUN:AIM) jumps 6.1% to 1.3p after raising £1.5 million through a share sale. The funds will support the company’s restructuring following several profit warnings.