Investors raise a glass to beer brewing behemoth SABMiller (SAB), up 4.3% to £31.71 on a confident first-half update, with the FTSE 100 firm flagging improved second quarter trading in Europe and North America. New chief executive Alan Clark flags a strong performance across Africa and good progress in Latin America, South Africa and Asia-Pacific. The performance is better than analysts expected, whereas distiller Diageo (DGE) delivers the opposite as first-quarter numbers miss forecasts. It flags weak emerging market sales yet the market still seems to like the story as the shares rise 0.8% to £19.52.
Pay TV giant British Sky Broadcasting (BSY) rises 4.6% to 918p as the company reports a set of strong key-performance indicators for the first quarter, in particular those relating to its connected TV services which it began monetising in January. We explain in this article why the market likes the news despite a drop in operating profit.
An old face is to return to the markets as life insurer Just Retirement plans to raise £300 million by admitting shares to London's main market, four years after being taken over by private equity. Investors might want to look at the share price performance when it was on Aim, as its previous life as a quoted business wasn't entirely fruitful as we discuss here.
A lack of revenue growth leads investors to take profits in Speedy Hire (SDY) after a stellar run. The tools and equipment services provider falls 3.3% to 65.75p after revealing a 0.1% drop in first-half revenue. The second quarter was better with a 0.4% rise in sales, but this is a stock that needs earnings upgrades to sustain share price momentum. Those certainly aren't coming today. Nonetheless, we remind investors that Speedy has previously seen heavy buying on share price dips, so watch closely for a repeat of this trend. For a reminder of the investment story, read our griller interview from March.
FTSE 250 Russian miner Polymetal International (POLY) has pleased the market with a strong production update. That sends its share price up 3.5% to 543.5p, also helped by a 2% rise in the gold price to $1,308 per ounce. What's really encouraging is that the miner appears to have nearly resolved its processing plant issues. Polymetal was one of our Tips of the Year. While the trade has closed after its stop loss was triggered, we continue to follow the story with interest. It is unlikely that it will repeat last year's special dividend, but news today of 'meaningful free cash flow' bodes well for getting its large net debt down.
Branded soft drinks group Britvic (BVIC) sparkles 10.5p higher to 610.5p on a strong full-year trading update. The £1.5 billion cap Robinsons-to-Tango maker has upgraded operating profit expectations for the year to 29 September to 'slightly above the top end' of the £125 million to £131 million previous guidance range. This follows a strong fourth quarter boosted by warm weather and the full availability of Fruit Shoot this time around following last year's product recall debacle.
After falling in early trading, mother and baby retailer Mothercare (MTC) does a u-turn and rises 2.7% to 403.25p despite a disappointing second-quarter update that is likely to trigger earnings downgrades. Group sales softened 0.5% in Q2 and UK like-for-like sales slip 1.9% against strong comparatives, while the £346 million cap flags margin pressure in a promotional domestic market.
Investors largely shrug-off the announcement of a new chief executive at global telecoms supplier Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC). The shares dip 1.5% to 41.5p on word that former British Gas boss Phil Bentley will be taking the wheel from January 2014, replacing Tony Rice. The share price reaction is not exactly a ringing endorsement that the new broom can sweep in improved cashflow for the strapped group.
New capacity coming onstream over the new few months should underpin printhead technology development star Xaar (XAR). It revealed that trading is otherwise bang on track, although the shares ease off 13.5p to 786.5p after nearly tripling this year from 279p.
Consumer and business mobile platform developer Globo (GBO:AIM) slides 2% to 73p after confirming a £24 million share placing to accelerate its GO!Enterprise US expansion. Pitched at 71p, that's a discount of less than 5% to the prevailing share price, although nearly 13% up since we updated on our running Play last month.
Medical testing device maker Omega Diagnostics (ODX: AIM) falls 3.5% to 14.6p as its infectious disease revenues for the six months to October were 11.7% down on last year’s first half figures. Despite this its overall adjusted pre-tax profit is up at least 10% year-on-year, while the company warns that further growth is needed to meet expectations in the second half.