London shares post modest gains in early trade on Monday as investor's appetite for risk returns and a series of important corporate announcements. The benchmark FTSE 100 index rises around 20 points, or 0.3%, to 6,798, with similar gains registered across the FTSE 250 midcaps and FTSE All-Share indexes.
Sporting goods retailer Sports Direct (SPD) heads the blue-chips leader board with a 2.5% gain to 765p, with investors piling in thanks to expansion plans that powered a 31% hike in full year pre-tax profits, announced last week.
But the mining space remains under extreme pressure, dominating Footsie losers on Monday and led by FTSE 100 gold miner Randgold Resources (RRS). Its shares fall 2.4% to £39.06 as the gold price hits a five-year low at $1,088 per ounce. The market is concerned about a hike in the US interest rate which will make non-yielding assets like gold unattractive. We explore the investment opportunities in a low gold price environment in the new issue of Shares.
Airplane-engines-to-submarines manufacturer Rolls Royce (RR.) adds 0.5% on news of more than $2 billion (£1.3 billion) of new orders. It announces deals to provide long-term engine service on 20 Airbus A330 planes for SAUDIA, Saudi Arabia’s national carrier, and will also build Trent 700 engines for International AirFinance Corporation (IAFC).
Perhaps the biggest corporate news story today is the reverse takeover of CAD-CAM software supplier AVEVA (AVV) by French engineering design firm Schneider Electric (SCHN:PA). A complex deal will see existing AVEVA shareholders retain a rough 46.5% stake in the enlarged business, which will remain listed on the London market. Investors also like the implied hefty cash return the deal implies, sending shares in the Cambridge-based firm rocketing 30% to £23.02.
Among today's bigger movers, Chinese door maker Jiasen (JSI:AIM) tumbles 14% to 5.38p after the resignation of its chief financial officer for 'personal family reasons'. The news will fuel negative sentiment towards the stock which has fallen 93% since Shares said to avoid last October due to numerous risks clouding the stock.
Online gambling marketing firm XLMedia (XLM:AIM) is up 6.7% to 64p as it delivers an 83% jump in first half revenues and says it is on track to meet full year expectations. Read our web exclusive here.
Building supplies business Michelmersh Brick (MBH:AIM) slumps 10% to 83.75p as it posts lower than expected half-year pre-tax profit despite almost doubling last year's equivalent from £1.3 million to £2.5 million this time round. The company also unveils a management reshuffle.
Motive Television (MTV:AIM) leaps 25% to 0.01p after inking an agreement with MTN Satellite Communications of Miramar, US. MTV will provide Motive's bring your own device (BYOD) TV technology and paid engineering support to assist MTN in developing new services to be marketed by MTN to its worldwide clients.
Elsewhere, functional food ingredient and supplement developer OptiBiotix (OPTI:AIM) jumps 10.8% to 37p after the Mail on Sunday tipped the stock yesterday.
DP Poland (DPP:AIM), the Domino's Pizza (DOM) franchise, adds 2.9% to 17.9p on a 27% rise in like-for-like gross profit in the first half, with system sales up 23.3%. It says there are 'significant' new store openings in the pipeline for the fourth quarter.
Mobile gaming company Nektan (NKTN:AIM) gains 1.8% to 171.5p after saying its EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) loss for 2015 will be better-than-expected at £5.5 million due to its 'tight management of the fixed cost base'. The number of depositors and net gaming revenues from its real money casinos more than doubled between the third and fourth quarters, but funding delays have impacted the rate of overall revenue growth.