News that German operations will not breakeven until 2016 or 2017 fuels the downwards trend in Domino's Pizza (DOM), falling 8.8% to 547p. It has scaled back new store openings in the country and plans to turn most of its corporate stores into franchise operations. Respected chief financial officer Lee Ginsberg has resigned after a decade with the business. He tells Shares that Domino's was worth £100 million when he joined, today it is valued at £980 million. That's part of the problem behind the share price decline; analysts now question whether it deserves such a high rating given the German problems. Ginsberg will depart in early 2014 but he's wasted no times in selling down his holding, offloading 70,000 shares at 578p following today's results in a transaction worth £404,600. We turned bearish on the stock in June at 678p, so anyone following our trade would already be sitting on a 19.3% paper profit.
Following widespread rumours, Barclays (BARC) has confirmed plans for a £5.8 billion share sale. The bank dives 6.3% to 289.3p after revealing its stock will be offered at 185p, a 40.1% discount on yesterday’s (July 29) closing price. We look at all the important details here.
Free-to-air broadcaster ITV (ITV) jumps 4.7% to 164.4p on better-than-expected first-half numbers and encouraging guidance for the third quarter. Another strong performance from ITV Studios helps offset a fall in net advertising revenue with group sales up 2% to £1.3 billion.
The potash industry is on the verge of significant change after Russian giant Uralkali (URKA) pulled out of a trading group after a bust-up with partner Belaruskali. The joint venture controlled about 43% of global exports. Analysts reckon potash prices will now become more competitive following the removal of the Russian cartel. This drags down shares in all potash-related stocks, exacerbated by news that Uralkali expects to sell potash to China potentially below $300 per tonne. That's a massive u-turn on the $400+ price communicated to Shares in an interview just two months ago. Uralkali falls 21.4% to $22.33; Sirius Minerals (SXX:AIM) is down 10.7% to 18.75p and Phosagro (PHOR) slumps 9.3% to $9.62.
The rise and rise of clothing retailer Next (NXT) continues; the shares skipping 2.4% higher to £50.20 on a trading update. Chief executive officer Simon Wolfson has raised full-year profit guidance to growth of between 2.2% and 8.6% following better-than-expected full price sales and lower markdowns for the half to 27 July which added £10 million to first-half profits.
Automotive and aerospace engineer GKN (GKN) gains 5.8% to 346.2p, bolstered by a better-than-expected 5% rise in pre-tax profits to £278 million. Aerospace business was particularly buoyant and benefited from last year's acquisition of Volvo's aircraft engine unit, as we discussed earlier this month.
A large dividend cut and $727 million write-downs drags African Barrick Gold (ABG) down 5% to 111p. Analysts welcome cost cutting plans but there's still a risk the miner will only make minimal profits on the current gold price. We warned about African Barrick's economic challenge in April, saying to sell at 179.9p.
Half-year results from mid cap publisher Informa (INF) include a strong showing from events operations, prompting a 4.8% jump to 525p. Activity in this division is a good early indicator of an economic recovery due to the long booking cycle.
International Personal Finance (IPF) jumps 4.8% to 525p on the back of super-charged first-half numbers. A 35% profits surge was achieved on the back of a 3.1% increase in customer numbers and 13.9% rise in the credit issued. Read our Play of the Week article on the door step lender from March.
Glasgow-based engineering firm Weir (WEIR) ticks up 3.6% to £21.52 after maintaining guidance for the full year despite a 14% year-on-year drop in interim pre-tax profits to £193 million. Investors appear to buy the argument that a recovery in US shale activity would outweigh continuing pressure on spending by the mining industry as Weir joins the list of stocks looking for a better second half in order to meet expectations. Read our article on Weir and the broader industrial engineering sector from May.
Strong demand for set-top boxes has investors switching on to UK manufacturer Pace (PIC), chasing the stock more than 6% higher to 295.4p. The market likes its move into software and a half-year dividend up 27%, although gross margins are being squeezed by higher admin costs.
Slower than hoped first-half growth leaves data centres operator Telecity (TCY) off 6.7% at 921p. Its £159.3 million revenues were about £1 million shy of consensus expectations, and Canaccord calls the results 'solid, if unexciting.' Yet high barriers to entry make this space among the most attractive long-term in a technology market carefully counting its investment pennies.
Consumer electronics audio chips specialist Wolfson Microelectronics (WLF) was left to lick its wounds as investors react to a likely third-quarter sales slide. The shares ease a little over 3% to 144p, largely due to volume shipment declines at key customer Samsung (005930:KS). Encouragingly, revenues surged 32% to $93.5 million in the first half of 2013, from $70.6 million last year. While analysts remain largely upbeat about Wolfson's chances of leveraging its audio hubs into 2014 and beyond, N+1 Singer is among several to flag a possible profits hit in the near-term.
Bombed-out online consumer electronics retailer Expansys (XPS:AIM) gives up another 25% at 0.28p as investors hang up on disappointing full-year results. The struggling £4.2 million cap, 41.63%-owned by Dragons' Den star Peter Jones, flags up adjusted pre-tax profits of £1.5 million (2012: £4.3 million) for the year to April on sales down 14% to £93.2 million. The real picture is far less flattering, with Expansys swinging from £1.9 million profits to reported losses of £18.8 million after a chunky write-down of its 2010 Data Select Network Solutions acquisition as well as restructuring and abortive acquisition costs.
Cash-generative fantasy miniatures maker Games Workshop (GAW) gives up 20p (2.5%) to 770p as investors book profits after a strong run since March. It reports improved taxable profits of £21.4 million (2012: £19.5 million) for the year ended 2 June, the most profit the company has generated since flotation. In a mixed year, during which Games Workshop returned £18.4 million to shareholders, sales edged up 2.7% to £134.6 million. Today's investor skittishness perhaps reflects the highlighting of weaker sales in the second half versus the first.