London's FTSE 100 edges up 11.14 points to 6,568.51 on Tuesday as ongoing uncertainty over Federal Reserve monetary policy and concerns over the US debt ceiling continue to dominate sentiment. One stand-out performer is business publisher and events group Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM), which reverses some of its losses since the start of September as an upbeat pre-close trading update sends the stock 6% higher to £11.15. The £1.3 billion cap reveals a strong fourth quarter with sales up 9% versus a 2% advance in the third quarter and ahead 5% on a like-for-like basis. Analysts at Investec flag the potential for the full-year turnout to actually beat guidance released today.
‘The fourth quarter looks strong and pre-close guidance implies consensus is beatable given ERM conservatism at this time of year with September a big month and still to close,’ says Investec analyst Steve Liechti. Euromoney’s weakness since the start of September has mirrored a sluggish performance of the other events-focussed companies, including emerging markets specialist ITE (ITE), UBM (UBM) and Informa (INF). The chief executives of the latter two companies, David Levin and Peter Rigby respectively, will stand down next year with Rigby having recently sold a large portion of his shareholding. All Euromoney, UBM and Informa are trading near their cyclical peaks.
Heading south on Tuesday is restructured Premier Foods (PFD), which surrenders the best part of 8% to 135.75p on surprise news incumbent finance director Mark Moran is to step down from the board at the end of this month. Moran, the numbers man who has helped steer the Hovis-to-Bisto brand owner through the first phase of its turnaround, is said to be leaving for personal reasons, having felt unable to commit to the business through and beyond any potential refinancing. The £354 million cap announces the appointment of Alastair Murray, formerly finance director at Dairy Crest (DCG), as his replacement.
Home Retail (HOME) gathers up 2.3p at 166.9p on news its Argos chain is trialling a collection service with eBay (EBAY:NDQ), which will allow shoppers to pick up products from selected eBay merchants at around 150 Argos stores. Read our in-depth Under the bonnet analysis of Home Retail's recent like-for-like sales trends here.
Veterinary services consolidator CVS (CVSG:AIM) bounds 4p higher to 244p as in-line finals please and recent acquisitions prompt forecast upgrades. The £137.2 million cap reports taxable profits up 5.7% to £6.6 million on sales up 10.4% to £120.1 million for the year to June and issues a promising outlook statement. Shares flagged the potential for upgrades back in April.
Infrastructure and environment consultant WYG (WYG:AIM) advances 2p to 108p on news of €8 million plus worth of contract wins in the Balkans. This latest piece of good news from the £69 million cap, making good progress with its international growth strategy, supports our running Plays of the Week trade which is now showing a 44% gain.
Network security minnow Corero Network Security (CNS:AIM) soars 17% to 28p as management uses half-year figures to talk up its 'growing pipeline' and flag the next generation of its distributed denial of service (DDoS) kit. But the pressure is on now it has sold its profitable education and business solutions arm.
Slumping PC sales continue to knock 3D converter kit specialist DDD (DDD:AIM) for six, the shares crashing over 16% to 7.12p. Sales into 3D TVs are picking up some of the slack, but not enough, with net losses soaring to $1.3 million and almost no cash generation.
Swansea-based silicon wafer recycler Pure Wafer (PUR:AIM) flags an expectations beat and a break back into the black for the year to end July, sending the shares soaring 28% to 8.75p. That'll be the first profit in over five years thanks to strong demand coming from both sides of 'The Pond'.
Eden Research (EDEN:AIM), a biotech focused on the agriculture, medical and industrial markets, falls 6.5% to 16p on market impatience with its continuing losses. For the six months to 30 June, losses were pared from £580,000 to £400,000 on a five-fold revenue jump to £50,000.
Energy minnow Northern Petroleum (NOP:AIM) falls 4% to 36p on the release of interim results which reveal a net loss of €900,000. Investors may be frustrated by the lack of an update on the planned sale of its underperforming Dutch assets.
Irish oil explorer Petrel Resources (PET:AIM) slips 2.3% to 16p with the market seemingly uncertain on the merits of the acquisition of a 20% interest in Amira Hydrocarbons - which has interests in Iraq. News of the deal, which involves an up front $500,000 cash payment and the issue of shares, accompanies unremarkable first half numbers.