The market looks like it will end the week on a happy note as the FTSE 100 is presently up 26 points to 6,707 as of Friday morning. There's not much corporate newsflow so the blue chip names are being driven by other factors such as analyst notes. Indeed, Costa Coffee-owner Whitbread (WTB) shares break the £35 barrier for the first time as JP Morgan upgrades the stock to 'overweight' with a £37.20 price target.
FTSE 100 oil explorer Tullow Oil (TLW) advances 1.8% to 900.5p as it strikes oil with its Agete-1 exploration well onshore Kenya. Canaccord Genuity remains relatively cautious and reiterates its 'hold' recommendation and £10.50 price target, commenting: 'Whilst encouraging, we do not view this result as a step change for Tullow’s East African program.'
Indian power firm Essar Energy (ESSR) gains 6.6% to 103.5p as its major shareholder Essar Global Fund says it will conduct a private sale of enough of its holding to ensure the £1.3 billion cap meets the 25% free float requirement associated with its premium listing.
Magazine publisher Future (FUTR) rises 5.5% to 16.9p as the company resumes dividends at its full-year results. A key underlying trend of note is further step up in digital subscriptions sold via apps that now total 340,000, up 94% on last year’s 175,000.
High-tech power leads supplier Volex (VLX) is rallying strongly as the market puts its faith in a new management team. Disappointing half-year results last week saw the shares plunge to 86p on rising debt and an axed interim dividend. We wrote on the stock in last week's magazine at 95p, and the stock is today up another 4.5% to 113p.
Full-year results from cross-border payments specialist Earthport (EPO) rise 2.5% to 20.75p as full-year revenue increases 37% to £4.14 million as the company leverages into a changing low value money transfer space. Losses of £6.5 million are also better-than-expected.
Acquisitive car dealer Vertu Motors (VTU:AIM) decelerates 1.7% to 57p after buying two Hyundai dealerships in Edinburgh. While these deals will see the motor trader part with £700,000 in cash, they turn the UK's sixth biggest automotive retailer into the South Korean car manufacturer's largest UK partner.
Clear Leisure (CLP:AIM) jumps 107.4% to 2.8p after receiving a surprise offer for its Italian property worth two and a half times its market cap as of last night. There's still lots of hurdles to clear and investors have already experienced a false dawn earlier this year with realising value from the bit of land. We looked at the company's challenges earlier this year.
Environmental Recycling Technologies (ENRT:AIM) slumps 10.3% to 0.65p after a third party manufacturing products under licence from the small cap went into administration.
Drug development cycle manager Instem (INS:AIM) makes a second bolt‐on acquisition this year, paying £1.3 million for Perceptive Instruments. Analysts like the deal, with stockbroker N+1 Singer calling the move 'attractive both strategically and financially,' although the market is less sure, the shares inching just 2p higher to 163.5p.