Gold mining group Randgold Resources (RRS) adds to the weak FTSE 100 despite telling investors that it is on track to hit its production guidance for 2014. But second quarter update disappoints the markets with Investec analysts saying 'first half earnings per share of $1.26 are ahead of last year, but well below the second half of 2013's $1.74 and well below our forecast of $1.65.
That adds to the ongoing weakness for the UK's main FTSE 100 index, down 17.36 points, or 0.3%, to 6,618.82.
Insurance giant RSA Insurance (RSA) returns to profit in the first six months to end June, posting a £69 million pre-tax profit. But Berenberg analysts shrug off the news, preferring to focus on restructuring plans which it calls 'roughly in line with market expectations, albeit with a somewhat lower-than-expected cost-savings target.' RSA hopes to slash more than £180 million off costs annually, yet that figures 'barely offsets 2014 volume reductions,' points out Berenberg.
Oil services firm AMEC (AMEC) slips 1.5% to £10.73 on interims which are slightly light of consensus expectations. The company reports revenues down 7% year-on-year to £1.86 billion, also 7% below what the market was expecting and says 2014 revenue will show 'modest' rather than 'good' growth with completion on its £1.9 billion acquisition of Foster Wheeler pushed back into the fourth quarter.
Aerospace and defence concern Cobham (COB) rises 3.3% to 296.6p despite interims revealing a drop in revenue on weakness in its military business. The market is perhaps reassured by reaffirmed guidance for a return to growth in 2015 although a 25% drop in order intake to £728 million is a point of concern.
Cash-generative discount greetings cards retailer Card Factory (CARD) clips ahead 2.5p to 207.5p on a reassuring first-half trading statement. The new Main Market entrant (20 May) flags 2.6% like-for-like sales growth, ongoing store expansion and good progress in paying down net debt, though the shares still trade below their 225p offer price.
Soft drinks colossus Coca-Cola HBC (CCH) loses further fizz, falling 3.4% (46.5p) to £13.29 on lacklustre half-year figures and a cautious outlook statement. Interim sales and profits are in negative territory at Coca-Cola's (KO:NYSE) European bottler, exposed to troubled Russian and Ukraine markets, due to depressed consumer sentiment and foreign exchange headwinds.
International food and drink concessions operator SSP (SSPG) slips 2.12p lower to 227.63p on a mixed maiden trading statement as a quoted company. CEO Kate Swann highlights strong third quarter performances in the UK, North America and Asia Pacific. The bad news is sterling strength caused a 1.4% group sales decrease and trading has grown more challenging in Continental Europe, particularly France. Shares looked at the Upper Crust-to-Caffe Ritazza brand-owner's growth prospects in a news analysis in June.
Despite analyst downgrades doorstep lender International Personal Finance (IPF) holds its ground unchanged at 536.5p. The counter has fallen 7% since the 30 July interims which currency headwinds featured heavily. Berenberg number crunchers have today published their revised 2014 and 2015 forecasts, which have been trimmed by 3% and 9% partly related to currency headwinds and partly connected to start-up costs of a move into Spain.
Interims from fund manger Henderson (HGG) have been met with a lukewarm market reaction, with the counter off 4.3% to 231.2p. The numbers were largely in line with consensus, however, reiterating their hold recommendation on the group analysts at Canaccord Genuity caution: ‘We will need to see evidence of a much stronger pipeline for the Institutional business before we can turn more positive on the stock.’