A huge profit warning sends FTSE 100 outsourcing group Serco (SRP) down 11.9% to 449p. Analysts have recently been turning bullish on the stock in the belief that its government ban on public sector work would be lifted. That's actually happened but investors are spooked by lost revenue from contract problems including the scaling back of its five-year detention centre deal in Australia. We flagged this big risk in this week's new issue of Shares.
Market speculation that a big share placing could be on the cards for video search engine Blinkx (BLNX:AIM) sparks a 46.6% collapse in the share price to 93.75p. Management is expected to rush out a response although there's nothing yet to calm investor panic.
Premium drinks giant Diageo (DGE) dips 86p (4.5%) to £18.24 as half-year figures show sales growth slowing to 1.4% from 2.2% in the first quarter. The Johnnie Walker whisky-to-Smirnoff vodka brand owner blames more challenging emerging markets for the miss.
Oil major Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) gains 1.9% to £22.85 as investors give the thumbs up to plans to cut capital spending to $37 billion this year from $46 billion in 2013 – with $15 billion of asset disposals targeted for 2014. The announcement accompanies fourth quarter results in-line with the warning delivered earlier this month (17 Jan). Notably the reserves replacement ratio which measures the extent to which a company replaces the hydrocarbons it produces with new reserves – recovers from 44% in 2012 to 112% in 2013.
Better-than-expected half-year results drive up British Sky Broadcasting (BSY) shares 3.5% to 874p. Product growth is offset at the profit level by increased marketing and Premier League football costs. The media giant is bulking up its content offer including new deals with broadcasters HBO and ITV (ITV). It raises the dividend by 9.1%.
Record fourth quarter figures help to drive up online gambling group 888 (888) by 5.1% to 147.1p. Its performance has been led by ongoing casino strength. Pokerscout ranks 888 as the number two global operator. We looked at the opportunities presented to 888 in this article from November.
Cineworld (CINE) drops 9.3% to 360p as just under 48 million shares are admitted to the market relating to the £110 million rights issue to help fund its £272 million acquisition of European chain Cinema City International. As we discussed earlier this month, the deal gives Cineworld much greater geographical scale.
Pork producer Cranswick (CWK) perks up 7.5p to £12.51 as a third quarter trading statement triggers upgrades. Organic sales grew 13% in the quarter to 31 December, boosted by growing pork consumption over Christmas, while the £600 million cap pleases with news of some margin recovery in the quarter.
UK onshore oil and gas play Egdon Resources (EDR:AIM) gains 10.3% to 29.5p as it announces the signature of an opt-in agreement with French oil major Total (FP:PA) on its PEDL209 licence. Total can earn a 50% interest in the prospect, which has shale gas potential, by funding a £13.5 million exploration programme. PEDL209 is located in Lincolnshire – close to two other Egdon licences which Total farmed into earlier this month (13 Jan).
Solid half-year results from metrology to healthcare components supplier Renishaw (RSW) show 11% underlying growth. But it is the bonus £24 million profit made on the sale of its stake in computer-aided design expert Delcam that's behind the shares 6% jump to £19.10.
Broadcast technology platform suppler Forbidden Technologies (FBT:AIM) rallies 3% to 34p after revealing a 33% jump in 2013 revenues in a trading update. However, that still only implies total sales of barely more than £1 million last year demonstrating its ongoing battle for scale. Shares discussed this issue in a recent website story.