The FTSE is trading 15 points higher (0.21%) at 7,022 partly thanks to supermarket giant Tesco (TSCO) rising 1% to 222.9p on speculation that it is on the verge of selling its Korean business.
Royal Mail (RMG) dips 1.4% to 493p as full-year results including a warning about the state of the UK parcels and letters market with the company expecting it to remain 'highly competitive'. Adjusted pre-tax profit rises 35.1% to £569 million and there's a 5% hike in the dividend. Read our thoughts on why the stock remains attractive.
Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casino owner Rank (RNK) gains 1.4% to 204p after strong growth in its digital channels drives a 5% rise in like-for-like group revenue in the 20 weeks to 17 May. The group expects full-year results to be in line with its expectations, saying it has a 'clear strategy for long-term growth'.
Mothercare (MTC) is marked up another 6.2% to 238.75p as the retailer for parents and young children posts improved full-year results, showing a narrowed loss before tax and positive like-for-like sales in the UK and international businesses.
Online gambling group Bwin.Party (BPTY) climbs 5.3% to 108.9p despite announcing a 6% fall in year-on-year revenue in the first quarter as a result of a lower-than-expected gross win margin in sports betting. The board expects to reach a conclusion on possible takeover talks in the coming weeks.
Electronic parts distributor Electrocomponents (ECM) falls 6% to 234.4p as its run of poor financial results remains intact. Headline pre-tax profit falls 21% to £80.1 million for the year to 31 March 2015 and there's no growth in the dividend. Finance director Simon Boddie is leaving after 10 years in the job. We'll publish a longer story on the news later this morning on the Shares website.
Local Shopping REIT (LSR) falls 4% to 29.8p on the value of its net assets remaining flat in the six months to the end of March as the retail market remains subdued despite the country’s economic growth. Pre-tax profit plummeted to £110,000 from £1.7 million a year earlier.
Cash and carry operator Booker (BOK) is in demand, up 10.2% to 167.5p on strong final results, news of a second capital return worth £62 million and the £40 million acquisition of the Londis and Budgens chains in Great Britain.
Drug discovery and development specialist E-Therapeutics (ETX:AIM) gains 2.6% to 38.5p as it starts first stage clinical trials for cancer drug ETS2101.The company will also start investigating the drug’s effect on pancreatic cancer. Headline data is expected in the second half of the year on two of its candidates.
Financial services provider S & U (SUS) retreats 4.4% to £20.01 on a lacklustre trading update. The motor arm is fine, but chairman Anthony Coombs says a 'pause' in consumer appetite for loans in the run-up to the general election have dampened sales in its home credit arm. Read our recent Play of the Week article on S & U to learn more about the business and its investment case.
A raised dividend and higher pre-tax profits see Qinetiq (QQ.) shares advancing 6.6% to 229.3p as the defence specialist cautions nevertheless that the outlook for defence spending in the UK remains uncertain as government cost-cutting looks set to continue. Profit before tax for the year to March 31 rose to £105.4 million from £84.0 million, while revenue came in 2% lower at £763.8 million as the US drawdown in Afghanistan took its toll on sales in Qinetiq's Global Products arm.
Food and drinks concessions operator SSP (SSPG) falls 1.7% to 307p on a 0.8% drop in revenue at actual exchange rates to £859.2 million in the first half. Like-for-like sales are up 3% and the company announces its first maiden interim dividend of 2.1p per share. Chief executive Kate Swann says while a degree of uncertainty exists around passenger numbers in the short-term, it is 'well-positioned to benefit from the underlying positive trends in our markets'.
European washing machines-to-tablets retailer Darty (DRTY) dips 6% to 74p despite a broadly positive fourth quarter trading statement. Total sales are up 3.5% reflecting market share gains in France, the Netherlands and Belgium, though lacklustre like-for-like sales and a cautious outlook for multimedia product sales weighs on sentiment.
Falling losses in the first half thanks to robustly rising revenues see specialty chemicals outfit Hardide (HDD) moving 6.3% higher to 1.28p. The surface coatings company reported a pre-tax loss of £68,000 for the six months to end-March, with revenue rising by over a third to £1.8 million.
Mobile marketing and digital music specialist and running Play of the Week InternetQ (INTQ:AIM) gains 4.4% to 332.5p as it reports a better-than-expected 28% year-on-year rise in underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to €6.2 million for the first three months of 2015. The strong numbers were supported by an improving margin performance with revenue broadly in line with expectations.