Hopes of a Santa rally are dashed as yesterday's rebound in the FTSE 100 proves to be a false dawn. The blue chip index slips back 35 points to 6,486. The final slug of mid and large cap stocks reporting financial results sees news from the retail sector and a handful of trading updates in the technology, service and healthcare industries.
A surge in half-time profits triggers earnings upgrades for multi-channel electrical specialist Dixons Retail (DXNS), yet shares in the PC World-to-Currys owner are off 2.7% at 49.92p as a cautious trading statement takes some of the shine the interim results as we discuss here.
Cyber security is at the heart of an acquisition by Babcock International (BAB), which is paying up to £32 million for technical consultant ContextIS. The UK-based target is a government-accredited supplier which helps secure critical infrastructure. Cyber security is one of the subjects discussed in our recent look at big technology themes. Babcock dips 0.4% to £12.80.
Former Barclays (BARC) boss Bob Diamond is back. His new investment vehicle, Atlas Mara (ATMA), has raised $325 million with conditional dealings in the stock underway today. The fund-raising exceeded the $250 million target and will be used to buy a company in Africa’s financial services market.
Newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror (TNI) ticks up another 0.5% to 188p as stockbroker Panmure Gordon increases its target price to 300p from 205p in response to yesterday's news that it will get a healthy cash injection from an asset disposal by part-owned media group PA.
Events group Informa (INF) slips 1.6% to 526.5p as analysts downgrade numbers in the wake of foreign exchange headwinds. Canaccord Genuity calculate that a 10% strengthening the GBP/USD exchange rate knocks £1.5 million off the FTSE 250 group’s normalised earnings before interest, tax and amortisation. UBM (UBM) drops 2.2% at 636p following yesterday's trading update which flagged margin pressure in 2014, prompting Westhouse to cut pre-tax profit forecasts by around 5%.
A profit warning sends recruitment consultant Hydrogen (HYDG:AIM) down 8.4% to 108.5p. The company has a bullish outlook and reports a rise in net fee income. Yet its 2013 results will miss forecasts due to the costs of hiring extra staff and foreign exchange losses.
Unconventional resource play Falcon Oil & Gas (FOG:AIM) gushes up 3.4% to 11.5p as it buys out a royalty interest in its Australian Bentaloo project. The move should help progress farm-out negotiations. The company has agreed a deal with Malcolm John Gerrard, Territory Oil & Gas and Tom Dugan Family Partnership to buy-out a 7% overriding royalty interest (ORRI) and, in conjunction with a separate transaction last month, the ORRI is effectively reduced from 12% to 1%.
Small cap oil company Range Resources (RRL:AIM) ticks up 2.8% to 1.28p as it agrees a farm-in deal with Canadian peer Niko Resources (NKO:TSX) on the Guayaguayare Block in south west Trinidad. Range will earn 50% of Niko's existing interests by funding two onshore wells and potentially an initial appraisal well.
Real estate franchiser M Winkworth (WINK:AIM) rises 8.9% to 165p as it expects revenues to exceed expectations this year. This is the result of a recovery in the housing market with transaction volumes improving especially in London.
Medical technology company Angle (AGL) improves 4.5% to 81p as it achieves the CE compliance mark in the EU for its Parsortix cell separation system, which diagnoses cancer. The company, which will submit an application to the US regulator in the first quarter next year, estimates that the global market is worth £8 billion a year.
Technology minnow Elektron (EKT:AIM) jumps more than 9% to 7.38p after bouncing back into the black in the third quarter, at an adjusted operating level. This is due to product price rises and slashed operating costs.
The latest cloud computing venture, Nasstar (NASA:AIM) falls 36% to 6.75p as the share price adjusts for a heavily-discounted fundraising. It is placing new shares at 5p to raise £10.5 million cash call to help fund the reverse takeover of e-Knowhow.net. The £12.35 million deal will see the microcap provide hosted desktop services to micro clients, while second interim results are also announced.
Sports nutrition play Science in Sport (SIS:AIM) sprints 6.45% higher to 66p after signing a product distribution deal with the European arm of Shimano, one of the world's biggest cycling distributors and component makers.