The £4.9 billion cap distributor of Costa coffee cups-to-construction safety helmets Bunzl (BNZL) rises 3% to £15.27 after better-than-expected results. It has revealed a 17% rise in pre-tax profit to £372.2 million. Its 2013 full-year results also include a 15% rise in the dividend and there's news of two acquisitions in Germany and the Czech Republic, the former taking Bunzl into the country's cleaning, hygiene and healthcare sectors for the first time. Bunzl is a running Shares Play of the Week – here's our view on the stock.
Embattled retailer Mothercare (MTC) falls 0.3% to 246.75p after parting ways with chief executive officer Simon Calver following last month's big profit warning. On the lookout for a new name to drive its uncertain turnaround of the UK business, the mother and baby products seller assures results for the year to March will meet forecasts. We'll assess the impact of today's news in a story on the Shares website later this morning.
Electricals purveyor and running Shares Play of the Week Dixons Retail (DXNS) sparks up 6.7% to 50.33p after confirming early-stage merger talks with Carphone Warehouse (CPW). Shares in the mobile phones retailer are also in positive territory, rising 1.6p to 307.6p on the news.
The mobile giant Vodafone (VOD) pulls the trigger on its 6-for-11 share consolidation following the completion of its Verizon Wireless 45% stake sale. This is aimed at maintaining consistency of the share price post the 30p per share cash return and Verizon stock handed to shareholders. Seems to be doing the job, as Vodafone shares stay flat at 248.65p.
Troubled insurer RSA (RSA) falls 1.4% to 99.7p on speculation that new boss Stephen Hester is planning a rights issue to shore up its balance sheet after issuing four profit warnings in the final months of 2013. The group says it is looking at several options but no decision has been made. The market will no doubt expect an update at Thursday’s full-year results (27 Feb).
Foods-to-fashion giant Associated British Foods (ABF) cheapens 20p to £29.73 on a mixed first-half trading update. Operating profits will be flat year-on-year, with much lower sugar profits offset by budget fashion chain Primark's excellent performance. News that sterling strength will cause a bigger-than-expected second half profits drag drives investor skittishness.
Aer Lingus (AERL) falls 2.3% to €1.57 after the Irish flag-carrier's full-year results show a 2.2% drop in pre-tax profit to €39.5 million. It gives cautious guidance for 2014.
Insulation specialist Kingspan (KGP) adds 2.5% to €14.16 after the Irish construction materials company's full-year results beat expectation. Revenue jumped 10% to €1.79 billion with margins rising to 6.9% in the year to 31 December 2013 on the back of a 14% jump in underlying operating profit.
South African ferrochrome producer International Ferro Metals (IFL) moves back into profit with its half-year results, thanks to record production levels and lower costs. The turnaround story – which we discussed in this article – adds a new leg as International Ferro Metals announces plans to reopen its Lesedi underground mine during the second quarter of this year.
The market likes the news with a 4.5% rise in the share price to 11.5p. Disgraced security firm G4S (GFS) falls 1.9% to 232.2p after a story in the Financial Times cited a whistleblower who claims via court proceedings that the company hid up to £4 million profit on its books while negotiating contracts with the Ministry of Justice.
LED lighting supplier Dialight (DIA) comes under pressure again despite a 51% rise in lighting sales. The shares fall 4.5% to 731p as margin pressure sees underlying operating profits fall from £19.6 million to £14.5 million.
Carpets and floor coverings retailer United Carpets (UCG:AIM) rises 35% higher to 9.25p on a well received trading statement. A combination of restructuring benefits, improving consumer confidence and better-than-expected second half sales means year-to-March results will smash consensus expectations.
Another licensing agreement for near-field communications technology supplier Proxama (PROX:AIM) sees the shares jump 9% to 7.5p. The latest deal in Latin America follows last week's contract win in Denmark.
Cloud call buy and builder Coms (COMS:AIM) slips 3.6% to 9.25p despite a trading update confirming revenues £2 million ahead of expectations at £14 million for the yea to January 2014. The company will also show a £450,000 pre-tax profit compared to consensus £0.2 million loss forecast. Shares earlier this month revealed the microcap's plans to start a direct-to-consumer telecoms services business in the next couple of months.
Cancer testing specialist Angle (AGL:AIM) jumps 5.5% to 95p on a positive update on its Parsortix system. Initial tests found that the device identified higher concentrations of cancerous cells in liver cancer patients than those recorded by other devices.
Medical testing specialist Omega Diagnostics (ODX:AIM) improves 14.7% to 31.1p on a positive update on its IDS-iSYS automated analyser. The company is confident of launching the allergy testing device with an initial 40 allergen test panel.
Fuel technology play Quadrise Fuels (QFI:AIM) is up 13.9% to 39p on news seaborne trials of its patented MSAR fuel with AP Moller Maersk (MAERSK-A:CO) are on track. Quadrise also announces an extension out to 31 December 2022 for its royalty agreement with the Danish shipping giant.
Oil explorer Fastnet Oil & Gas (FAST:AIM) gushes up 4.3% to 12p as it announces drilling is set to commence on its FA-1 prospect offshore Morocco next month. The well is located on the Foum Assaka licence where Fastnet has an effective 9.375% stake.