UK stocks are trading modestly lower in early trade Wednesday as investors pause for breath following a surge the previous session. The FTSE 100 is trading 11 points lower at 6,361 in early deals, with British American Tobacco (BATS) leading the Footise fallers.
The tobacco giant warns that revenue growth slowed in the third quarter as depressed consumer income met large tax-driven price rises, sparking a 4%-plus sell-off to £33.22. Sector peer Imperial Tobacco (IMT) is also modestly off, down 23p at £25.28.
Third quarter production numbers are below expectations for gold miner Petropavlovsk (POG). Yet the highly-indebted business doesn't feel the need to downgrade its full-year output guidance because it hopes to process higher-grade material in the fourth quarter. The shares rise 6.5% to 24.5p because the £48.4 million cap says costs will be at the lower end of previous guidance and exploration success should see resource upgrades on two deposits next year.
Electronics supplier Laird (LRD) enjoyed a strong third-quarter performance on the back of major customer Apple's (AAPL:NDQ) hugely successful iPhone 6 launch. Revenue growth accelerates sparking a 5% share price jump to 309.5p.
After a powerful performance in the third quarter continued into the fourth, gaming platform provider Playtech (PTEC) is confident of beating expectations for the full year. Boosted by the World Cup sports betting and strong continued growth from its casino business, the shares rise 6.5% to 747.5p.
Argos-to-Homebase chain owner Home Retail (HOME) cheapens 3.5% to 169.5p as interim pre-tax profits come in 13% higher at £30.9 million, at the bottom of the range with Argos' profit below expectations. Home Retail shares have risen on news it is considering spinning off Homebase, so the market is left underwhelmed by the outlining of a three-year productivity plan involving an acceleration of store closures.
Fashion retailer SuperGroup (SGP) is marked down 3.2% to 996.25p as founder Julian Dunkerton steps down as boss. Non-executive director and one-time Co-op boss Euan Sutherland becomes CEO 'with immediate effect' to help drive the Superdry brand owner and running Shares Play of the Week's online and global expansion. Dunkerton moves to the newly created role of Founder and Product and Brand Director.
Minimally invasive tools-maker Surgical Innovations (SUN:AIM) dives 31.3% to 1.6p as its troubles continue. The company warns of an extra £1.6 million of exceptional charges are expected this year, while revenues will be £600,000 lower than expected.
Budget footwear seller Shoe Zone (SHOE:AIM), a running Shares Play of the Week, steps 3p (1.47%) higher to 207.5p on a positive pre-close trading statement. Boss Anthony Smith, whose ambitious plans for the business were outlined in Shares last month, flags annual pre-tax profits in-line with expectations and says year-end net cash will be better-than-expected at around £8.5 million.
Off a low base, online health device minnow Fitbug (FITB:AIM) rockets 215% (0.81p) higher to 1.18p on news that US retail giant Target (TGT:NYSE) and UK supermarket Sainsbury's (SBRY) will stock its products in their wearables ranges from next month.