Shares in heavy construction specialist Carillion (CLLN) rise 4.2% to 333.5p as the group refuses to give up the chase for its sector peer Balfour Beatty (BBY), up 1.8% to 240.8p. Half-year results from Carillion show a 6% increase in underlying profit in the six months to June, but merger excitement remains the key driving force for investors for now.
Mid cap oil explorer Ophir Energy (OPHR) rises 4% to 206p as it announces an unexpected $100 million share buyback programme alongside today's interims. The company's shares have more than halved year-to-date on exploration disappointments, although the company has been flagged as a possible takeover target. The buyback sees Ophir return some of the $1.25 billion netted from the March sale of 20% of its interest in blocks offshore Tanzania.
Bingo and casino operator Rank (RNK) blames tough markets and competition for full-year revenue declines in its Grosvenor casino and Mecca bingo businesses, although acquisitions boost profits. Rank says like-for-like revenue from Grosvenor venues dropped by 4% although digital revenue lifted 38%. Mecca like-for-like venue revenue fell 5% and online revenue dipped 4%. The shares stay flat at 169.9p.
Egyptian gold miner Centamin (CEY) unveils its first ever interim dividend, albeit a modest $0.0087 per share payout, despite reporting a dip in profits in the second quarter as production costs increase and geo-political problems persist. But the market shrugs off the maiden payout, the shares flat at 74.7p.
Solid half year trading at IT systems refresh business Micro Focus (MCRO) are welcomed, but investors are particularly happy about the latest cash return from the group. Shareholders will be handed a 60p per share special payout, as predicted by Shares in June, nailing down a rough 7% income yield of this year's expected 10%-plus yield, based on today's 870.5p, up 6.5p.
A new £1.5 million cash call by Outsourcery (OUT:AIM) forms part of a £4.5 million fresh funding package. Struck at an 11% discount 20p, investors show their support by egging the shares 1p higher to 23.5p despite its recent revenue warning. The new arrangements will also see joint CEOs Piers Linney and Simon Newton take a 12-month 'salary sacrifice'.
Online property marketing business Zoopla (ZPLA) rises 1.4% to 253.5p on the back of an upbeat maiden interim management statement for the third quarter to 31 July. Reiterating their 325p target price, analysts at Jefferies comment that the update ‘contained a couple of noteworthy statistics,' namely that Zoopla has more UK members than Rightmove (RMV) (19,097 vs 18,995) and a more upwardly mobile user base. More than half of Zoopla's traffic is from mobile devices, compared to 40% at Rightmove.
Specialist video games retailer GAME Digital (GMD) rises 5.4p to 247.4p on a reassuring year-end trading update. Restructured and returned to the stock market this year (11 Jun), GAME grew sales 30% in the year to 26 July with its UK and Spanish businesses gaining market share. CEO Martyn Gibbs expects to achieve the £43.7 million consensus underlying operating profits forecast for the year.
Digital music and radio platform 7digital (7DIG:AIM) publishes a reassuring update on its Blackberry contract although the bombed-out stock refuses to budge, flat at 16.25p. Analysts at house broker finnCap believe that ‘with the Blackberry issue resolved, we look for a rapid recovery in the share price and reiterate our 38p target.’
Life science research specialist Retroscreen Virology (RVG:AIM) falls 12.5% to 280p as it raises £33.6 million through an 18.8% discounted placing to fund research and development.
Commercial property play Derwent London (DLN) improves 2.6% to £27.48 as net assets rise 13.6% to £25.72 in the six months to July. Pre-tax profits increased 14.3% to £32 million, funding an 8.4% hike in its interim dividend to 11.6p a share.
Chinese e-commerce platform JQW (JQW:AIM) nudges 1p higher to 69.5p on a strong interim trading statement. Enabling small and mid-sized Chinese companies to connect and advertise products to potential buyers over the web, the company flags 48% growth in profit before tax to RMB 105 million on a 90% sales surge as it expands across the Peoples' Republic.
Cancer-fighting proton machine developer Advanced Oncotherapy (AVO:AIM) gains 3.5% to 3.7p as it forms a five-year agreement with Toshiba (6502:TKO). The Japanese giant will supply a crucial components for its radiation machines.