UK stocks rise for a fifth straight day on Tuesday, helped by easing geopolitical tensions in Ukraine. The FTSE 100 is nearly 0.5% higher at 6,775 in early trading, it's highest level this month.
Bucking that wider trend, investors in FTSE 100 mining giant BHP Billiton (BLT) voice their disappointment at its demerger plans, sending the shares down 2.9% to £20.07. The £43 billion cap is spinning off various metal and coal assets into a newly-listed vehicle, as flagged by Shares in April. The market had speculated that it would announce a $3 billion share buyback to compensate for not floating the spin-off business in London, but there's nothing of the sort in today's announcement. The demerged entity will be floated in Australia and South Africa by mid 2015.
Multi-national cigarettes titan Imperial Tobacco (IMT) rises 1.7% higher to £25.68 on a soothing nine month and third quarter trading statement. 'Growth Brands,' including JPS, Davidoff and West, continue to outperform on market share. Despite exchange rate headwinds Imperial, which recently announced (15 Jul) the transformational acquisition of brands and assets from Reynolds American (RAI:NYSE) and Lorillard (LO:NYSE), leaves full-year guidance unchanged.
Hobby products play Hornby (HRN) increases 4.2% to 62p on a reassuring trading update. The Hornby-to-Scalextric brand owner says trading over the four months to end-July was slightly ahead year-on-year. News of progress with supply chain changes, the relaunch of websites and a strong product roster ahead of Christmas, all help to stir positive sentiment towards the stock.
Electronic components and sensors supplier TT Electronics (TTG) loses 4.5% to 178.5p as currency movements swipe off all underlying half year revenue growth and most profit progress. Investors might reasonably be disappointed with the lack of progress on operating margins, flat at 4.9%, with the 8% 'medium-term' target looking a long way off. The shares have slumped 16% since directors sold hefty stakes in the company in April, as flagged by Shares.
Serial fuel cells technology disappointer Ceramic Fuel Cells (CFU:AIM) maintains its reputation as it runs up full year pre-tax losses three-times the size of its thin £3.4 million revenues. With just £2.9 million of net cash, having chewed through £10 million last year, another dilutive cash call looks almost certain, dragging the shares 11.5% down to 0.58p.
Cancer drug developer ValiRx (VAL:AIM) slides 1.1% to 0.4p despite narrowing pre-tax losses 10% to £1.5 million in the first half. Falling research costs are largely behind the progress, despite ValiRx having four products in development.
Irish aggregates giant CRH (CRH) slips 1.2% tp £14.37 as investors fret over 'easing' positive trends. The group a 27% increase in operating profit to €505 million, of which €171 million came from asset sales.