Construction group Costain (COST) slumps 18.5% to 260.25p on plans to raise £75 million through a heavily-discounted share placing at 225p. It needs the money for working capital, finance bid costs for bigger tenders and to prove to customers that the business is strong enough to take on much bigger and longer duration work.
Part-nationalised lender Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) dives 6.7% to 330.3p as its losses increase to £8.2 billion in 2013 up from £5.2 billion a year earlier. The bank also announces its intention to shrink operations and has finally sold out of insurer Direct Line (DLG). We take a closer look at the news here.
A company that is heavily shorted by investors can shoot upwards on the slightest bit of good news, as evident by Kazakhmys (KAZ) leaping 18% to 263.8p. The copper producer is no doubt the subject of margin calls, where people with short positions must either close out their position (effectively 'buying' the stock) or deposit more funds into their trading account. The good news driving Kazakhmys is full-year results which hit the top end of guidance and that costs are falling.
Hedge fund Man (EMG) spikes 10.7% to 93.1p as it announces a $115 million share buyback programme and notes client in-flows of $700 million for the fourth quarter of 2013. Assets under management rise 3% to $54.1 billion over the same period, boosted by the net inflows and investment gains at its GLG Partners unit. The group also indicates it is on track cut costs by $270 million by the end of next year.
Non-life insurer RSA (RSA) falls 3.5% to 98.5p after a bad year culminated in a £244 million pre-tax loss. No dividend will be paid following storms and fraud in its Irish division. New boss Stephen Hester announces a £775 million rights issue to strengthen its balance sheet.
Military equipment maker Chemring (CHG) slumps 3.6% to 259.5p as it reports a 13% decline in revenue to £118.3 million for the three months to the end of January and signals market conditions 'remain challenging'. The update also confirms a fatality at its Kilgore facility in Tennessee has led production to be suspended.
Xchanging (XCH) slips 2.3% to 182.5p despite better-than-expected full-year results. Investors are spooked by the terrible performance in its procurement arm where operating profit fell 70.5% because of lower net revenue and margins from a renewed BAE Systems (BA.) contract and the end of a deal with that client in Australia.
Merlin Entertainments (MERL) advances 0.9% to 374.4p as full-year results are slightly better than forecasts thanks to lower-than-expected tax. We've looked at the Alton Towers-to-Legoland operator several times since last year's float – read those articles here and here.
Whitbread (WTB) jumps 2.2% to £42.80 on a strong fourth quarter statement with particular success in its Costa coffee chain. Management expect full-year pre-tax profit towards the top end of consensus forecasts. Premier Inn hotels and the restaurant business are both doing well.
Current trading is very good at Domino's Pizza (DOM) with 14.6% like-for-like sales growth in the first seven weeks of 2014. It is taking full control of its German operation. The shares rise 1.5% to 565p.
Cash-generative consumer products titan British American Tobacco (BATS) filters 1.2% higher to £32.11 as investors welcome in-line annual numbers and confirmation of a further £1.5 billion share buyback for 2014. Though cigarette volumes declined during the year to December, the Pall Mall-to-Lucky Strike maker grew adjusted operating profits 3% to £5.82 billion with the help of its pricing power, while the total dividend rises 6% to 142.4p.
Cosmetics-to-deodorants developer Swallowfield (SWL:AIM) skips 0.5p higher to 89.5p. Better-than-expected half-year figures show a return to modest profitability at the operating level, highlight improving sales momentum and include a growth and margin improvement strategy unveiled by new CEO Chris How.