Builders merchant Wolseley (WOS) rises 1.1% to £32.31 on a decent set of full-year results and the lure of another special dividend for shareholders following last year's reward, potentially 110p per share. Trading profit was at the top end of consensus forecasts with both the UK and US delivering good year-on-year growth. Yet Irish stockbroker Davy reckons there's reason to be cautious about earnings prospects. It sees downside risk to current year expectations because of the struggling mainland Europe operations. It adds: 'The statement also suggests that it expects £20m of restructuring charges against trading profit in the current financial year. This will clearly depress trading profit growth.'
The FTSE remains surprisingly resilient when considering news from over the pond. The blue chip index only dips 12 points after the US government began its first partial shutdown in 17 years following congress' failure to agree a budget to continue its funding. The gold price also stays fairly flat at 1,338.7 per ounce, whereas many market commentators had expected a surge on such news from the US.
A surprise sales warning from Domestos-to-Cif maker Unilever (ULVR) after last night’s market close paints a worrying picture for stocks with a large proportion of sales from emerging markets. The consumer goods company falls 3.7% to £23.49 as investors digest the news and analysts downgrade their earnings forecasts. There's negative read-across to many other stocks as we discuss in this news analysis.
It's all happening at managed data centres operator Iomart (IOM:AIM) where business is going as impressively as usual. But the market zooms in on its latest BTL acquisition, and the implied 9.6-times EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation), a valuation steeply higher than it's generally paid in the past. Directors are also selling £11.8 million worth of stock, putting the shares under pressure, down 4.2% to 278p. A long-time Shares favourite, we argued for profit taking just a couple of weeks back at 318p. We'll take a look at today's news in more detail later today in an online news analysis.
Close Brothers (CBG) ticks up 0.6% to £11.76 after Shore Capital upgrades its 2014 forecasts with its earnings per share (EPS) estimate of 97.4p putting the firm in striking distance of the ‘magic tonne’ of 100p EPS.
Subsidence claims is an exciting new space for claims software supplier Innovation (TIG) so today's whopping £75 million deal, with 'one of the UK's largest insurers' sees the shares rise 2.5% to 30p. This comes just weeks after sealing a £20 million subsidence contract with Direct Line (DLG).
Silicon wafer reclaimer Pure Wafer (PUR:AIM) bounces back into black to the tune of $3 million pre-tax profit last year to end June despite just 3% sales growth. The market remains sceptical, slashing nearly 7% off the shares to 8.5p with doubts over the sustainability of the business long-term.
Energy minnow Northern Petroleum (NOP:AIM) gushes up 5.1% to 37.2p after agreeing the sale of its Netherlands assets to Vermilion Energy for C$27.5 million. The proceeds from the deal, which sees Northern get a share in future net profit from the Papekop production licence as well as from unconventional reservoirs, will be reinvested in its Canadian and Italian assets.
Heart-monitoring specialist LIDCO (LID: AIM) rises 1.6% to 15p on interim results. A 27% annual rise in sales to £4.2 million saw its pre-tax losses fall to £70,000 from the £406,000 it reported a year ago. The UK was a key driver with a 187% rise in monitors sold.
Regeneration specialist St Modwen Properties (SMP) expects to hit profit and cash forecasts for the year, sending the shares up 1.8% to 309.7p. Demand for its residential and commercial developments remains strong since the start of June as management pursue the strategy we analysed at the start of the year.
The market gives non-invasive brain monitoring specialist Electrical Geodesics' (EGI: AIM) acquisition of Avatar EEG Solutions a cautious welcome. The company falls 2.2% to 132.5p following the news, which adds a portable, pocket-sized EEG recorder to its offering. The deal was agreed for $325,000 cash.