Global online fashion store ASOS (ASC:AIM) dips 0.3% to £51.40 despite reassuring interim figures. Lower profits of £20.1 million meet forecasts downgraded last month on increased warehousing investment and bigger-than-expected losses in China. As already reported, sales growth of 34% was crimped by foreign exchange headwinds in Australia and Russia, though ASOS today excites with improved gross margins and a new and confident £2.5 billion sales target. We take a closer look at the news here.
A very poor financial performance leaves investors in Cupid (CUP:AIM) with a broken heart, the shares down 10.6% to 62.13p. Following last year's high-profile investigation into operating practices and the subsequent £45 million sale of its casual dating businesses including Benaughty.com, the online dating provider is now left with a loss-making business with no growth in either revenue or the dividend. Cupid has unveiled a turnaround plan and expects to be cash generative in the second half of 2014.
Online payments group SafeCharge (SCH:AIM) rises 6% to 171.5p on its first day of dealings on Aim. The business is majority owned by Teddy Sagi, the founder of gambling technology giant Playtech (PTEC).
There's an internal promotion at Frankie & Benny's owner Restaurant Group (RTN). The head of its leisure business Danny Breithaupt is to become chief executive officer. He's been with the group since 2001 and was previously at Whitbread (WTB). Shares in Restaurant Group rise 0.4% to 702.5p on the news.
Animal feed specialist Anpario (ANP:AIM) rises 3.2% to 271p on robust full-year results that include a 17% hike in the dividend. The debt-free company saw pre-tax profits improve £1.3 million to £2.8 million in 2013 and says it has made a good start to the new financial year.
Chinese coal bed methane play Green Dragon Gas (GDG:AIM) rises 15% to 374p after announcing a deal regarding last year's unauthorised drilling by state backed firms on a number of its licences. Green Dragon expects to see a significant increase in its reserves as a result of the settlement, while CUCBM, a subsidiary of one of China's largest oil groups CNOOC, has agreed to spend $100 million on exploration of the Shizhuang North Block (GSN) to earn an extra 10% interest and $250 million to improve the infrastructure at the already-producing Shizhuang South (GSS) block.
Green Dragon spin-out and specialist drilling contractor Greka Drilling (GDL:AIM) is itself up 21.8% to 16.75p as its former parent announces it will be used to drill 150 wells on GSS.
Machine tooling business 600 Group (SIXH:AIM) advances 6.3% to 17p as it announces results for the year to the end of March will be in-line with expectations and says it has made a positive start to the current financial year. The Yorkshire firm terminated asset disposal talks with Chinese firm Qingdao D&D in February (12 Feb).
Investors are being drawn to a $1.1 million contract extension with a global bank won by back office optimiser EG Solutions (EGS:AIM). That pushes the shares 2% higher to 48.5p, a welcome respite after a difficult 2013.
Interest has clearly been stirred in remittances platform operator Earthport (EPO:AIM) after yesterday's City teach-in. The shares add nearly 6% to a record 45.5p. Earthport is one of our Plays of the Week from December at 24p.