Investors applauded life assurer Phoenix's (PHNX) decision to hike its dividend by 27% and pay down debt. The £1.1 billion cap advanced 8.4% to 640.5p on a string of news which includes plans to raise £250 million in a share placing at 500p as part of a major capital restructuring.
In contrast, £6 billion cap oil service provider Petrofac (PFC) was the FTSE 100's worst performer, down 7% to £16.20, on a negative read-across from Saipem (SPM:BIT). The Italian oil services group issued a major profit warning after last night's market close, causing its shares to be suspended in early trading today (30 Jan). Saipem forecasts that earnings before interest and tax will be 70% less than 2012.
A positive drilling update lifted Bowleven (BLVN:AIM) 9.5% to 69.5p after the company indicated that it has potentially found oil at its IM-5 well in Cameroon.
A push by Morgan Stanley helped Imagination Technologies (IMG) advance 11% to 490.8p. The bank says two potential catalysts are not yet priced into the shares. These are access to China via partner MediaTek providing a play on low-end emerging market smartphone growth. Morgan Stanley also believes that a design deal with Samsung could prove lucrative if it is on the incoming Galaxy S4 product. Antofagasta (ANTO) fell 7.5% to £11.80 after saying that copper mining costs could increase by 13% this year. This is much higher than expected by analysts, causing investors to dump stock. Among the small caps, architect-to-interior design group Aukett Fitzroy Robinson (AUK:AIM) jumped 38% to 3.62p as full-year results revealed a return to profit. Payment provider MoneySwap (SWAP:AIM) dived 20% to 1.5p after its finance director quit.
The market balked at a heavily-discounted share placing by advisory group CIC Mining Resources (CICR:AIM). It raised a minuscule £660,000 through placing stock at 4p per share. CIC was trading at 11.375p only eight days ago.