Argos-to-Homebase owner Home Retail (HOME) rises 3% to 207.1p as its third quarter trading update highlights a good Christmas for Argos and drives full-year forecast upgrades. Benefiting from strong sales of tablets, white goods, electrical goods and toys, Argos' like-for-like sales skipped 3.8% higher over the 18 weeks to 4 January. Also fostering positive sentiment is news of the appointment of Argos Managing Director John Walden as Terry Duddy's replacement as Home Retail CEO.
Investors breath a sigh of relief that there isn't another profit warning from Ladbrokes (LAD). The bookmaker rises 2.1% to 176.65p after saying that 2013 operating profit will meet the mid range of analyst forecasts. We look at changing sentiment towards the gambling sector in today's new issue of Shares.
Car parts-to-bicycles seller Halfords (HFD) accelerates 6.6% higher to 491.35p as a strong third quarter trading statement shows the retailer's turnaround clicking into gear. Over the 15 weeks to 10 January, retail like-for-like sales sped up 5.9%, ahead of consensus expectations and boosted by staggering cycling sales.
Highly-valued online grocer Ocado (OCDO) cheapens 14p to 507p despite delivering a positive Christmas trading performance. For the six weeks to 5 January, sales rose 21.3% to £111.1 million at Ocado, the partner which helped Morrisons (MRW) launch into web-based food delivery earlier this month.
IT kit and services supplier Computacenter (CCC) rises more than 3% to 666.5p after telling the market it will modestly beat expectations for 2013 in a year-end trading update. Shares last month predicted this outcome.
Chocolatier-in-turnaround Thorntons (THT) sweetens up 1.5% to 145.38p on a festive trading update. For the second quarter ended 11 January, total sales grew 6.3% to £93.1 million driven by the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) division whose seasonal specialities such as advent calendars sold well through retail multiples. Shares flagged potential for a strong Christmas update at Thorntons, a running Play of the Week, in November.
Games Workshop (GAW) tumbles 21.2% to 570p as half-year figures disappoint, showing a dip in taxable profits to £7.7 million (2012: £11.1 million) on reduced sales of £60.5 million (£67.5 million). The results from the cash-generative fantasy miniatures maker reflects a decline in sales through independent stockists, as well as the short-term impact of a switch from multi-man to one-man stores.
Rig refurbishment and construction specialist Lamprell (LAM) gains 8.7% to 153p as it says 2013 results will be ahead of expectations thanks to improvements in project execution. The company has previously been a serial offender with profit warnings and it posted a $105 million loss for 2012 but a new management team led by chief executive officer James Moffat appears to have turned things around.
Mid cap oil producer Premier Oil (PMO) slips 4.2% to 295.1p as it offers cautious production guidance for 2014 in today's trading update. Despite exiting 2013 with higher than anticipated output of 69,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, the company says this year's production will average 58,000-63,000 boepd. Irish stockbroker Davy comments: 'A cautious approach was largely expected after several third-party issues pared back 2013 production guidance through the course of last year.'
South African gold producer Central Rand Gold (CRND:AIM) jumps 26.3% to 12p after completing an open offer, raising £1.7 million. We looked at the company's challenges and opportunities last year in this article.
Broadcast software supplier Pilat Media Global (PGB:AIM) is to end a 12-year stint on AIM after recommending shareholders accept a 95p per share takeover by SintecMedia, owner of an existing 23% stake in the business. That inevitably sends the shares racing higher, up 22% to 91.5p.