Banknote printer De La Rue (DLAR) falls 6.2% to 920.5p after saying operating profit growth is behind schedule for its three-year 'improvement plan'. This aims to increase operating profit from £40 million in 2010/11 to £100 million by 2013/14. De La Rue blames tough trading in its currency division and cash processing solutions business.
Argos-to-Homebase owner Home Retail (HOME) hops 2.9% higher to 189.6p on strong half-time numbers showing positive like-for-like sales across both retail chains. The £1.5 billion cap flags positive progress at Argos, where sales over mobile devices rocketed 124% to speak for 16% of Argos' total sales. Read our news analysis on the numbers.
IT-for-schools supplier RM (RM.) has finally decided to throw in the towel on PCs, ditching its hardware sales unit to concentrate on software and services as part of a business review. It will mean a £10 million one-off hit and 300-odd job cuts. Analysts slash pre-tax profit estimates for 2014 by 40% and the shares fall 5% to 117.75p, although the price has doubled since July. Read our thoughts on the announcement here.
Global online fashion store ASOS (ASC:AIM) gives up 46p (0.85%) at £53.67 despite reporting better-than-expected full-year results. Pre-tax profits increase 23% to £54.7 million and the fashion seller is stepping up its capital expenditure investment from £35 million per annum to £55 million in each of the next two years, meaning future net cash forecasts may be reined back.
Saltaire-based Pace (PIC) is expanding out of its pay-TV set-top box (STB) roots with the $310 million acquisition of networks specialist Aurora. This is part of a bigger shift up the value chain for Pace as it increasingly becomes a cash cow company, as recently flagged in Shares and explained in greater detail in tomorrow's issue of the magazine. The market rightly likes the deal, bidding the shares 4.7% higher to 303.7p.
Emergency power provider APR Energy (APR) is buying GE's Turbine Rental Business for $314 million in cash and shares. The market applauds the deal, sending its share price up 16.7% to £11.14. Helping the positive tone was a third quarter update showing $84 million of sales, in line with market expecations. This was helped by big contracts in Libya flagged in March and June. The strengthening of the group perhaps worries investors in sector rival Aggreko (AGK) which falls 2.4% to £14.67.
Sirius Minerals (SXX:AIM) is looking at new ways to get permission to build a large potash mine in Yorkshire. The miner says it may resubmit its planning application rather than rejigging the existing one, so as to address outstanding concerns by the National Park Authority. Investors remain hopeful, sending the shares up 0.8% to 8.9p. Numis Securities comments: '(Sirius) reports it is making good progress but we remain cautious and expect this one to drag on.'
Troubled boiler-to-drainage repair group Homeserve (HSV) has lost its UK chief executive officer. Jonathan King is leaving to have a career as a non-executive director elsewhere. He'll be replaced by chief operating officer Martin Bennett.
Performance materials demand sends components maker Laird (LRD) up 6.3% to 239.9p. Electromagnetic shielding kit for smartphones is a big driver with the group confirming that trading is on track despite flat third quarter wireless division revenues.
Private healthcare provider Al Noor Hospitals (ANH) falls 4.2% to 872.5p despite saying it is on track to meet expectations for the year. The Abu Dhabi-based concern remains debt free, has $108.5 million cash and hired 23% more revenue-generating doctors in the third quarter than it had a year ago.
Mid cap oil firm Premier Oil (PMO) drops 2.8% to 330.6p on a widely-trailed production downgrade. Output guidance moves from 63,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) to 57-59,000 (boepd) thanks to gas export issues at its Chim Sao asset in Vietnam and Huntington field in the UK. Numis comments: 'With the shares having been very weak in anticipation we doubt the market reaction will be overly negative today and see potential for a relief rally in early November as Huntington plateau production resumes.'
Demand from the oil and gas sector helps Pressure Technologies (PRES:AIM) rises 9.7% to 362p as says results will beat expectations for the year to 28 September. The Sheffield-headquartered firm has also enjoyed a tailwind from growth in naval defence projects and says it has begun the new financial year on a 'positive footing'.
A profit warning from chemicals manufacturer Zotefoams (ZTF) sees shares plunge 5.8% to 180p as the group reveals a shortfall in European polyolefin shipments which offsets sales growth in high-performance products and Azote foams in Asia.
The market is in a forgiving mood over motion capture technology microcap OMG (OMG:AIM) despite warning that £3 million profit this year is below the £3.9 million forecast. It blames US spending cuts, although we've long believed this a dog's dinner of a company lacking focus.
Trading in the shares of tiny healthcare software supplier AVIA Health Informatics (AVIA:AIM) is restored and the stock tanks 65% to 2.5p. This is no surprise after the £1 sale of its operating business to Advanced Computer Software (ASW) and £326,000 share placing that has flooded the market with cheap stock. It leaves AVIA an empty cash shell that will change its name to Cientifica and look to use its modest cash to buy something in the super material graphene space, but don't hold your breath.