Troubled FTSE 100 outsourcing giant Serco (SRP) falls 18.4% to 329.9p after warning it may need to raise money through a share placing and materially downgrade earnings guidance after a review of its business. We warned about the risks to the stock back in January.
Investors are giving a wary thumbs up to quarterly results from oil major BP (BP.). The shares rise 1% to 493p as profits for the first three months of the year come in slightly ahead of expectations and the dividend is hiked 8.3% to 9.75 cents per share. We take a closer look at the story here.
Housebuilder Redrow (RDW) jumps 3.3% 289.1p after a trading update for the 17 weeks to 25 April 2014 reveals that the group operated from an average of 92 outlets, a 12% increase on last year while net reservations rose 17% in the period. Our construction reporter Sean Flynn examines the news in more detail in this story.
Costa coffee-to-Premier Inn hotels owner Whitbread (WTB) rises 2.1% to £41.47 after a strong set of full-year results. The dividend's been raised by 19.9%, pre-tax profit goes up 16.5% and net debt falls 16.9% to £391.6 million. It is investing lots of money to spruce up the Brewers Fayre and Beefeater restaurant chains, previously the weak part of the leisure group. Whitbread is one of our favourite stocks in the quoted leisure sector, as discussed here.
Wolfson Microelectronics (WLF) soars 73% to 231.75p after receiving a takeover offer from Cirrus Logic. Finncap analyst Lorne Daniel calls this a 'Get Out of Jail Free card' for investors given disappointing trading that continues to depress Wolfson.
Stagecoach (SGC) nudges 0.3% higher to 375p after the public transport specialist's pre-close trading statement reveals no significant change to the group's earnings expectations for the financial year ending 30 April 2014.
The purchase of telecoms engineer Clarke sends infrastructure services expert Renew (RNWH:AIM) up 5.3% to 227.5p. Stockbroker Numis reckons the acquisition will enhance Renew's earnings by 16%. It says the deal will push up debt near-term but expects Renew to have no gearing by 2015 thanks to strong cash generation from operations. Renew is one of Shares' top picks for 2014.
Gold miner Petropavlovsk (POG) slumps 9.3% to 75.75p after full-year results lay bare the extent of its financial troubles. Despite record gold production volumes, the Russia-based miner reports a $713 million net loss, $948 million net debt and cancels the dividend.
As anticipated by Shares, luxury interior furnishings firm Walker Greenbank (WGB:AIM) edges 1.5p higher to 190.5p as better-than-expected full-year results and a good start to the new financial year trigger another round of forecast upgrades. The £112 million cap's adjusted pre-tax profits strut almost 15% higher to £7.3 million and investors are treated to a 25% hike in the the total dividend to 1.85p.
Chinese B2B e-commerce operator JQW (JQW:AIM) slips 7.9% to 82p despite delivering encouraging maiden annual figures. Pre-tax profits more than doubled to RMB 171.4 million in calendar 2013, sales were up 71% to RMB 493.1 million, yet investors appear to be taking profits.
Green electric powered scooter maker Vmoto (VMT:AIM) gains 1.1% at 2.73p on a bullish first quarter update. Generating healthy Chinese sales in the first quarter, the micro cap also turned cash flow positive for the first time.
Iodine producer Iofina (IOF:AIM) is up 21% to 45.75p as it follows up yesterday's management shake up with a $5 million convertible bond to fund an expansion of its production base. The group parted company with its chief executive and finance director after warning production would miss expectations due to a shortage of the brine water from which it derives its iodine, as its main partner launched a major fracking campaign in Oklahoma.