British manufacturing has enjoyed its fastest growth spurt in more than two years, according to new figures. The Markit/CIPS PMI index jumped to 52.5 in June from an upwardly revised 51.5 in May. This strong performance comes on the eve of Shares' annual review of the best quoted companies in Britain. Our team of journalists will travel the country over the coming weeks, meeting small, medium and large cap stocks to champion the best of British talent.
On the markets, the blue chips were quiet on the news front but there was plenty of action lower down the tables. Heading the pack was oil service firm Hunting (HTG), rising 6.4% to 778.5p. On the back of sharp falls in its share price in June, the market showed relief that trading is in line with expectations.
Australian miner Bullabulling (BGL:AIM) jumped 9.1% to 1.5p after publishing a new economic study on its gold project. Operating costs have come down but development costs have gone up. We see flaws to the study, as discussed in more detail here.
Mobile payments specialist Monitise (MONI:AIM) has pulled off a landmark telco deal with Spain's Telefonica (TEF:MC), a major step outside its traditional financial services client base. The five-year breakthrough deal for its Mobile Money platform not only underpins revenues forecasts of £70 million this year, it potentially takes the UK company a step closer to a long awaited break into the black. The shares advanced 5% to 36.25p.
Emergency power provider APR Energy (APR) dipped 3% to 945p despite winning a new contract in Mali.
The results of an investigation into Cupid's (CUP:AIM) business practices hasn't found anything scandalous, sending the shares up 5.6% to 76p. Yet auditor KPMG has given the online dating provider a list of areas in which to improve including marketing, governance and risk management.
Geo-location microcap 1Spatial (SPA:AIM) tumbled 7.7% to 7.5p after running up a £4.8 million operating loss in the financial year to 31 January despite a rapid revenue rise. Administration costs nearly tripled to £10 million as it tries to scale into an emerging big data opportunity, but one that is costing any hopes of immediate profits.
Fox Marble (FOX:AIM) advanced 1.5% to 17.5p after striking an offtake deal with marble wholesale supplier Pisani. The deal is positive for Fox but looks like a short-term agreement, giving both parties time to build a relationship.
The Zambia mining ministry still has Gemfields (GEM:AIM) in a head lock. Having previously kept the highest-grade material from its Kagem mine in the African country to be sold at auction in Singapore, it has now been told this product must be sold in Zambia. Gemfields revealed in April a possible government ban on auctions outside of Zambia, which has weighed down on its share price. Today's announcement pulls the stock down a further 7.5% to 21.5p as investors worry it won't get as good a price for its emeralds as by selling in Asia.
Bombed-out biogas plant specialist Camco Clean Energy (CCE:AIM) soared by 26.5% to 1.55p after chief financial officer Jonathan Marren bought a 1.4% stake in the business.
Packaging firm Robinson (RBN:AIM) ticked up 1.3% to 151.5p as it announced plans to sell its Chesterfield site for £4 million. The company expects to book a £1 million profit, giving it a pot of money to fund European expansion.
Allergy, food intolerance and infectious disease testing specialist Omega Diagnostics (ODX: AIM) dived 3% to 16.3p after adjusted pre-tax profits fell 22% year-on-year to £780,000. Its allergy business suffered from last year’s wet summer, while its business in Europe became a victim of the region’s economic uncertainty. Management are focusing on the major emerging economies and pin their hopes of a revival on automating its manual tests.
Consumer healthcare pharmaceutical Futura Medical (FUM: AIM) improved 1.4% to 69p after adding two new compounds to its pain relief portfolio. Studies show improved levels of skin penetration when the active ingredients ibuprofen and methyl salicylate are used in Futura’s DermaSys delivery system. Management will be appointing advisers to exploit the potential of its portfolio.