On a quiet day for corporate news, the market is struggling to find direction, having lost all of its gains enjoyed in early trading. Engineers and industrials are among the few large cap risers including a 1.6% gain in Meggitt (MGGT) to 530.5p.
Equity markets may be near 13-year highs despite yesterday’s correction but liquidity remains constrained in the lower reaches of the market with Close Brothers’ (CBG) market making operations disappointing as a result. Volume gains in large cap stocks were insufficient to offset a reduction in the trading of small cap and Aim shares at Winterflood whose poor third-quarter showing was behind a 5.1% retreat in the stock to £10.35.
Pawnbroker H&T (HAT) fell 10.5% to 226p following a profit warning on the back of a weak gold price. The company cautions that for every 10% fall in the gold price £2 million is wiped off the bottom line. Analysts at finnCap adjusted down their forecasts by £1 million. Shares previously warned that bad news potentially awaited H&T; click here to read the story from April.
Shares in AIM-quoted oil & gas play Petroceltic (PCI:AIM) fell 3% to 6.5p after its Kamchia-1 exploration well offshore Bulgaria failed to find gas in commercial quantities. Click here to read our story on why there's still reasons to be optimistic on Petroceltic.
US oil play Caza Oil & Gas (CAZA:AIM) gained 50% to 13.5p after it secured $50 million of debt financing to advance its Bone Springs project.
Investors managed to put Computacenter's (CCC) eurozone struggles to one side as the IT services business confirmed its previously-flagged £75 million cash return. In the form of a 48.7p per share special dividend via a B share structure, the bonus should be paid 5 July and comes on top of the 15.5p dividend for 2012. This is perhaps unsurprising given the strong cash generation of the group and limited interest rate return available, and City analysts are already speculating over further one-off payouts down the line.
Mozambique-based coal producer Beacon Hill (BHR:AIM) dipped 1.4% to 3.45p despite saying it had produced the first batch of coking coal from a new washplant.
Microcap serial disaster The Weather Lottery (TWL:AIM) jumped 11.1% to 0.15p on news that it would buy software group Poseve for £350,000. The target specialises in lottery games and payment processing technology. The parent group hinted in April that its days on Aim might be numbered, given that the cost of listing exceeded small profits made in the half-year to 31 January. Today's statement implies that the business may persevere with its Aim quotation if it can make further acquisitions. It has appointed Media Corporation's (MDC:AIM) chairman Phil Jackson to be its chief executive officer and lead the revival efforts.
Software-to-service group 1Spatial (SPA:AIM) jumped 13% to 7.62p after raising £18 million (at 6p per share) to boost its working capital, open a sales and support centre in the Middle East and help fund the acquisition of Star-Apic. The target is a Belgium-based provider of data analytics for the land and infrastructure management markets.
Medical technology company Omega Diagnostics (ODX: AIM) improved 9.5% to 20.1p following a £4 million placing. The proceeds will take some of its products through clinical trials and make a patent licence agreement payment to Immunodiagnostic Systems (IDS), which makes equipment that runs some of Omega’s tests.
A £4.9 million fundraising by brownfield regeneration specialist Inland Homes (INL: AIM) saw the small cap fall 2.1% to 28.7p. The balance sheet-strengthening deal boosts its war chest to add new sites to its portfolio.