Shares in National Express (NEX) were notable fallers on Thursday, reversing 11% to 204.9p as investors responded to news US hedge fund Elliott Advisers plans to sell half its stake in the £1.16 billion cap UK coach and train operator. Following the disposal, Elliott will hold a stake of just 9.9% in the travel group.
Emergency power specialist Aggreko (AGK) jumped 14.6% to £20.15 after publishing its full-year results. This looks to be a relief rally that it met forecasts following last year's profit warning, rather than a sign of strong trading. Analysts noted that it hasn't changed its earnings guidance for 2013.
Shares in satellite communications group Inmarsat (ISAT) reversed 10.5p to 655p after full year 2012 results showed more profit falls. Pre-tax profits fell 20% to $294 million (£196 million) partly thanks to its failed LightSquared agreement in the US. But analysts also point out a worrying near 27% drop in cash generation and a 10 percentage point fall in margins. Inmarsat was able to confirm new satellite launches remain on track as part of its next generation mobile Global Xpress network.
Cineworld (CINE) nudged ahead 0.3% to 282.5p after reporting a 15.3% rise in pre-tax profit to £38.5 million for 2012. Analysts forecast a big jump in revenue for 2013 to reflect the addition of the Picturehouse chain it bought in December 2012. The deal has completed but remains subject to a probe by the Office of Fair Trading around competition issues. The worst case scenario would be that Cineworld is forced to sell off a few sites.
Shares in insurance giant Aviva (AV.) fell by the best part of 13% to 314p today, after it said it would cut its total dividend by more than a quarter to 19p to help fund a turnaround at the company. Click here to get our take on the story.
In the engineering sector, Birmingham-based IMI (IMI) rose 5.5% to £13.31 after the company announced a £175 million 12 month share buyback programme and provided a robust outlook for the second half alongside its preliminary results. We discuss the story in more detail here.
Shares in pawnbroker H&T (HAT: AIM) put on 8.5% at 315p following well-received final results for 2012. These revealed a pledge book of over £50 million, making H&T the first UK pawnbroker to reach this milestone, although as previously flagged to the market, taxable profits fell 28% to £17 million as a result of reduced gold trading profit and store expansion costs, while the dividend was increased by more than 10% to 11.85p. Following the figures, broker finnCap sticks with its 350p price and 'buy' recommendation on the shares.
Branded soft drinks star Nichols (NICL: AIM) cheapened 7.75p to 880p despite delivering strong 2012 numbers demonstrating taxable profits up 13% to £20.5 million and earnings per share up 14% to 41.4p following another year of market share gains. News that long-serving chief executive officer (CEO) Brendan Hynes is to step down at the AGM in May was viewed as a slight disappointment, although he leaves the Vimto brand-owner in the capable hands of seasoned soft drinks industry operator Marnie Millard, currently the owner of Nichols' Vimto Soft Drinks UK business.
Shares in Balfour Beatty (BBY) fell 4% to trade at 275.2p after the UK construction company posted a 7% drop in 2012 full-year profits. The £1.975 billion cap blamed the decline on a failure to offset persistent weakness in its core UK and US businesses with sufficient revenues from the new growth markets. The infrastructure specialist's taxable profits fell from £331 million to £309 million in 2012 and chief executive officer (CEO) Ian Tyler warned that construction markets in 2013 were likely to remain challenging.
Shipping services firm Clarksons (CKN) saw its shares fall 3.5% to £14.23 on news of a sharp 51% fall in profits. Challenging conditions in the global shipping market, caused by economic weakness and demand/supply side imbalance, persisted in 2012, causing the company's full-year profits to drop from £35.4 million to £23.3 million.
Green hydrogen fuels developer ACTA (ACTA:AIM) saw 12% swiped off its shares in early trade before easing back to a 6% decline to 8.8p as the market softened over a collapsed commercial tie-up. The £13 million microcap confirmed that its has ditched a letter of intent agreement with Ecoisland that means it has pulled out of a venture aimed at making Britain's Isle of Wight the first fully sustainable energy region. The news comes after confusion over the project claiming rival hydrogen fuel technology supplier ITM Power (ITM:AIM) was the sole Ecoisland partner.
CCTV technology specialist IndigoVision (IND:AIM) remains one of the bigger software sector risers today, the shares up 2.3% to 340p as its 'Invest to grow' strategy starts to show promise. Half year figures to end January saw a hit to gross margins (from 60% to 54.2%) as new product launches changed the mix, but revenues are showing a welcome accelerating trend. Sales for the six months overall rose 11% to £16.1 million but this includes a 6% and 15% first and second quarter split, boding well for the second half.
Consumer health pharmaceutical specialist Futura Medical (FUM) fell 2.42% this morning to 65p, before recovering slightly to 66.50p. The company, which is awaiting clearance in the USA for a premature ejaculation treatment, reported a £2.2 million net loss in the year to January after making a £1.8 million loss a year earlier.
Gene-based biopharmaceutical company Oxford BioMedica (OXB) fell 3.39% to 2.14p despite commencing the Phase II trial for cancer vaccine TroVax. Last week the company announced a £10.3 million pre-tax loss, down from £14.3 million a year earlier.
Asbestos removal expert Silverdell (SID:AIM) dipped 6.3% to 18.75p despite saying trading is in line with forecasts. Net debt is slightly higher than forecasts and the small cap has accepted a £1 million cash offer from Shaw Group to settle a contract dispute from 2010. This results in an exceptional charge of £2.5 million.
Shares in West African gas play Gasol (GAS:AIM) gained 3.1% to 23.5p after it announced the first tranche of its unsecured bond has been placed with institutional investors to raise $20 million. The proceeds will support its plans to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) into the 678 kilometre West African gas pipeline for customers in Benin, Togo and Ghana.
Iodine producer Iofina (IOF:AIM) advanced 5.5% to 154p as it revealed it expects to be producing 300 tonnes of iodine a year from its two operating plants, which are operating at 80-95% recovery of the chemical element. In response broker Investec upped it's 2013 earnings per share forecast by 62% to 6.5p a share.
One of the contributors to this article, Dan Coatsworth, owns shares in Cineworld.