Investors do not seem bothered that mid cap financial software provider Fidessa (FDSA) has failed to grow both revenue and profit in full-year results published today (11 Feb). Instead, it is a repeat of last year's 45p special dividend and evidence of better managing its cost base that has driven the shares up 5.1% to £16.05. Stockbroker Panmure Gordon upgraded its 2013 earnings forecasts and lifted its price target from £12.43 to £13.96, albeit this remains below the trading price. It says: '(We) still grumble that Fidessa shares are too expensive and the halcyon days are long gone.' The £595 million cap trades on 19.7 times forecast earnings for 2013.
FTSE 250 oil and gas producer Essar Energy (ESSR) advanced 4.3% to 147.1p after a bullish trading update. Expansion in refining capacity and the ability to better process lower-cost heavy crude oils help to improve profit margins in its third quarter.
After being in a rising trend for the past 12 months, Telecom Plus (TEP) is another highly-rated stock which requires ongoing positive news to sustain its share price rally. Sadly there was nothing exceptional in today's interim management statement to spur trading in the stock, leaving it unchanged at 980.5p. The £685 million cap says trading is in line with market expectations and announced plans to raise its dividend by 15% to 31p for the financial year to 31 March, as widely predicted by analysts.
FTSE 100 miner Rio Tinto (RIO) nudged ahead 7p to £36.65 after the Australia Competition Tribunal said the iron ore producer doesn't have to allow third parties to use its Hamersley and Robe rail lines. Logistics were also at the centre of Beacon Hill Resources' (BHR:AIM) 27.6% rise to 5.55p. As we previously discussed, shares in the Mozambique-based coal producer were always going to be guided by success or failure at getting rail access, as it is a much more efficient way of transporting its products to a port for export than going by road.
News of a significant increase in second-half sales (on the previous six months) pushed safety products specialist Latchways (LTC) up 1.7% to £10.25. South America and Europe-based packaging group Smurfit Kappa (SKG) retreated 2.4% after writing down some assets by €142 million in response to last week's devaluation of the Venezuela bolivar fuerte currency.
Investors were pleased with interim results from mobile banking group Monitise (MONI) where losses were not as bad as feared. House broker Canaccord Genuity sees 'substantial potential for accelerated revenue growth' in the second half of the financial year, aided by new products from Visa. Monitise pushed ahead 1.5% to 34.5p. Technology investors also flocked to video search engine Blinkx (BLNX:AIM), whose shares jumped 16.9% to 79.5p after saying that it would beat revenue expectations.
Following last month's profit warning (31 Jan), high performance systems specialist e2v Technologies (E2V) has appointed Neil Johnson as non-executive chairman, sending its shares up 1.1% to 115p. He holds a similar role at chemicals group Synthomer (SYNT), previously known as Yule Catto. Also on the staffing front, Mothercare (MTC) says Matt Smith will start as chief financial officer on 25 March, following his appointment in November 2012. The retailer dipped 1.6% to 303.5p, maintaining the downwards trend seen since December 2012.
Among the small cap resource stocks, Sula Iron & Gold (SULA:AIM) jumped 4.8% to 5.5p after confirming five target areas for gold exploration at its project in Sierra Leone. House broker HB Markets today issued a 'speculative buy' rating on the stock with a 15p share price target. Tanzanite producer Richland Resources (RLD:AIM) fell 7.3% to 4.75p on a poor sales update where it revealed widespread theft of gemstones. And the wooden spoon went to tantalum miner Noventa (NVTA:AIM) which crashed 68.8% to 1.15p. There is a risk that it will fail to comply with secured loan conditions if it cannot resolve production problems in Mozambique.