Luxury goods leader Burberry (BRBY) strutted 3.5% higher to £13.10 on a soothing second-half update containing news of a better-than-expected fourth quarter. Sales of £503 million in Q4 were 11% up year-on-year and 4% higher than consensus as Burberry showed it still has momentum in critical Asian growth markets.
For the six months to March, the £5.5 billion cap's core retail sales grew 13% to £840 million, led by growth in China in particular. Chief executive officer Angela Ahrendts flagged an especially strong Christmas and Chinese New Year for the iconic British brand, famed for its Equestrian Knight logo and Burberry Check trademarks.
A trading update from FTSE 100 distribution company Bunzl (BNZL) failed to move the share price, flat at £12.73. It has bought a UK business called MDA that is involved in point of sale materials for the food and drink sector.
Pub operator-to-brewer Marston's (MARS) advanced 1.6% to 134.5p despite a weak start to the calendar year. The market had already expected a poor show from pub groups because of the prolonged cold snap, so the poor trading doesn't come as a surprise.
Asset rental group Speedy Hire (SDY) dipped 1% to 47.75p on its trading update. While pre-tax profit is expected to be ahead of expectations, analysts flagged a modest slowdown in underlying revenue growth during the fourth quarter on the previous three months.
Smiths News (NWS) declined 2.1% to 188.25p on half-year results. After a massive rally, the shares needed upgrades to sustain momentum; and these haven't been forthcoming. Oriel nudged up its earnings forecasts on the back of buying some library service contracts but downgraded its dividend forecasts and rating from 'buy' to 'add'. JP Morgan and Liberum left their estimates unchanged.
In the retail sector, JD Sports Fashion (JD.) shed the best part of 4% at 715p as full-year figures failed to wow the market. The sports fashion-to-outdoor clothing firm, which acquired loss-making Blacks Leisure from the administrators in early 2012, reported a 20.4% drop in pre-exceptional taxable profits to £60.5 million for the year.
Iron ore explorer Afferro Mining (AFF:AIM) nudged up 14.1% to 72.75p after one of its potential suitors updated the market on its takeover plans. International Mining & Infrastructure (IMIC:AIM) outlined a range of options for buying Afferro, priced between 100p and 140p depending on whether shareholders wanted all cash or a mixture of cash and a convertible loan note. It has 15 days to prove that it can get at least $100 million cash to fund the deal, likely to come from its wealth of Chinese contacts. International Mining itself fell 11.1% to 24p on the news, which also includes the revelation that it will need to raise extra cash to develop Afferro's projects.
Talent management software specialist NetDimensions (NETD:AIM) jumps 6% to 43.5p thanks to a new contract. The deal with Fresenius Medical Care will spark a 30,000 staff, 24 nation talent suite roll out, a timely boost ahead of full-year 2012 results, due Monday. Readers can get the detailed story from our September feature here.
Interbulk (INB) dropped over 20% to 6.88p after the chemicals transportation specialist issued a profit warning. The group cautioned that in the six months to 31 March 2013, while revenue was expected to be slightly down, 'operating profit will be materially below the comparable period last year.' Chief executive Koert van Wissen blamed 'weak demand in Europe' as well as fragile external market conditions such as overcapacity brought about by fleet expansions.
Private network digital communications specialist Sepura (SEPU:AIM) jumped 8% as it unveiled better-than-predicted trading in its TETRA it markets. The Cambridge-based £137 million cap pointed to March year-end revenues of €103 million to €105 million, against Investec's €100 million estimate, with last year's acquisition of 3T weighing with €11 million of sales.
Microcap ideas process management software developer Imaginatik (IMTK:AIM) drops 12% as investors continue to digest its decision to remain on AIM. Its commitment to the junior market in the face of stiff cashflow and trading headwinds (read here) sparkled a 66% share price jump yesterday, probably on increasingly desperate hopes that the company will find a buyer.
Biotech Anpario (ANP) was up 9% to 144.5p after releasing a strong set of results for 2012. The company’s net profit increased 24% year-on-year to £2.1 million, which fuelled a 25% boost in its final dividend of 3p per share.