Transport companies are dominating the headlines as the East Coast rail franchise is finally awarded. Stagecoach (SGC) rises 8.2% as it snags the franchise in partnership with Virgin. The media had suggested French rail firm SCNF would win the deal. FirstGroup (FGP) falls 5% to 102.55p after failing to win the deal. This is despite sharp falls in its share price earlier in the week as rumours suggested the transport company had lost the franchise bid. FirstGroup has now lost out in the race for five rail franchises in the UK.
Single price discount retailer Poundland (PLND) rises 4.9p to 314.9p on better-than-expected first half results including the declaration of a maiden interim dividend. The running Play of the Week reports strong growth in sales, profits and store numbers and there's a confident outlook statement ahead of the important Christmas period too.
Global food and drinks concessions operator SSP (SSPG) edges 2.8p higher to 247.8p on robust maiden annual numbers showing 14% growth in pre-tax profits to a better-than-expected £71.5 million. CEO Kate Swann highlights strong growth in North America and Asia Pacific from the running Play of the Week and new contracts secured at Beijing, Dubai, Sacramento and Stansted airports. Read our news analysis here.
Plastic packaging maker RPC (RPC) rises 2% to 558p on news it will buy Iceland-based competitor Promens for £307 million. The group, which makes Heinz tomato ketchup and Nivea suncream bottles, plans to raise £200 million through a 1-for-3 rights issue at 320p and also reports a 12% interim sales hike to £588.9 million.
Pub owner and brewer Marston’s (MARS) cheapens 0.69% to 143.2p on a 3.6% fall in profit before tax to £83 million for the year to 4 October, though revenue at the Pitcher & Piano owner rises 1% to £787.6 million, in line with expectations.
The week-long rally at retail payments specialist Paypoint (PAY) continues as it delivers in-line first half results, showing a 5.5% pre-tax profits gain to £22.5 million. Shares in the Welwyn Garden City-headquartered firm are up 6.5% on the week, adding 0.8% today to trade at 952.5p.
Asset manager Miton (MGR:AIM) slumps 17% to 22p as it flags £320 million of client outflows from key funds. Adjusted profit for 2014 will be in line with expectations but 2015 profitability will be hit by lower assets under management.
Premium drinks penny share Distil (DIS:AIM) fizzes up 60% to 1.48p as its Blackwoods Gin brand wins approval for sale and distribution in the United States, the world's single biggest market for UK-produced gin. Shares highlighted the micro cap's turnaround potential here in June.
Mariana Resources (MARL:AIM) drops 7.3% to 1.53p after abandoning its Condor de Oro project in Peru after poor exploration results. Investors are no doubt disappointed after a lot of hype around the asset which Mariana only a year ago declared to be a 'potential company changer'.
Communications and events company UBM (UBM) is down 21.8% to 451.9p as it trades ex-rights after its £565 million issue to fund the acquisition of trade show organiser Advanstar.
Property trading outfit Mountview Estates (MTVW) rises 7% to £92.87 as it posts pre-tax profit of £20.8 million in the six months to September, up from £13.2 million a year earlier on a revenue rise from £28.8 million to £36.9 million. Mountview doubles its interim dividend to 100p to reflect the strong performance.
West End focused property group Shaftesbury (SHB) hits a record high, up 6.4% to 811p, as it reports its full year EPRA net asset value (NAV), reflecting the value of its properties, is up 25.7% to 713p. This is some way ahead of what analysts had pencilled in.