London markets shrug off mixed overnight US corporate news that saw the world's biggest ever quarterly net profit posted by tech giant Apple (AAPL:NDQ). The iPhone-maker's shares jumped after the close following a massive 30% year-on-year increase in quarterly sales to $74.6 billion, and an $18 billion net profit, the largest quarterly profit posted by a company, ever, anywhere.
US search group Yahoo (YHOO:NDQ) was also a strong rider overnight as speculation gathers p[ace that it plans to spin-off its $40 billion stake in Chinese ecommerce firm Alibaba (BABA:NYSE) as part of a complex tax dodge. US markets finished with sharp losses on Tuesday after a barrage of disappointing corporate earnings and economic data, including figures which showed a 3.4% drop in durable goods orders.
The FTSE 100 nudges barely 2 points higher to 6,827 in early deals, led by Experian (EXPN). The credit agency sees potential for rising dividends as part of a more efficient capital structure, news that drives the shares 4.2% higher to £12.14. The moves are part of a strategic review announced ahead of an investor seminar to be held today.
Among resources up was oily stock Petrofac (PFC), rising 2.86% to 709.75p. Miner Anglo American (AAL) rises 1.8% to £11.095p despite expecting to record full year non-cash impairment charges as special items given the sharply lower commodity-price environment.
Chemicals company Johnson Matthey (JMAT) heads the Footsie loser board as a modest 5% rise in third quarter sales, and pre-tax profits barely higher at all, fail to impress. The group's Emission Control Technologies (ECT) division continues to perform well, with sales 9% ahead at £435 million, but the shares slump 5.4% to £33.07.
UK microprocessor designers ARM (ARM) and Imagination Technologies (IMG) both put in solid share price performances on implied revenue benefit from Apple's rampant Chinese iPhone 6 sales. ARM, on whose designs iPhone CPU's are based, is 2% higher at £10.53, while Imagination does even better, posting a 3.5% gain to 251p. It supplies GPU (graphics chip) technology to the US giant.
Canary Wharf will soon be in the hands of overseas owners after landlord Songbird Estates (SBD:AIM) agrees a £2.6 billion takeover by Brookfield Properties and Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund. Songbird shares jump 7.7% to 346.2p.
Among the bigger movers, lifecycle management software designer Sopheon (SPE:AIM) crashes more than 23% to 32.5p on a full year earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) warning, with revenues of circa $18 million a big miss on market hopes of $21 million.
A 70% increase in the amount of uranium estimated to be contained in Forte Energy's (FTE:AIM) Slovak uranium projects sends the miner's shares up 30.8% to 0.51p. The stock has now risen 168% year-to-date although this is coming off a very low base when you consider Forte was trading above 10p four years ago.
Positive exploration results trigger a 20.6% spike in Serabi Gold (SRB:AIM) to 5.88p. One drill at from a prospect in Brazil found 3.6 metres of mineralised ore running at 42 grams per tonne of gold, which is extremely high grade.
Microwave technology firm Filtronic (FTC:AIM) continues its run of profit warnings as it reveals that its Wireless business will be substantially below market views. That sparks yet another share price collapse, down 36% to 17p.
Crowdsourcing projects platform Blur (BLUR:AIM) rallies 9% to 78p as it reports a sharp ramp-up in full year bookings worth $49.1 million, more than double the previous year. Second half bokings jumped 94% on the year to $33.1 million. However, analyst still see hefty pre-tax losses of around $10 million being reported.
Bombed-out Israeli formalwear tailor Bagir (BAGR:AIM) slumps 22.5% to 7.75p as another profit warning, caused by unfavourable currency movements, overshadows a recovery plan and news it has reset its banking covenants.
Oil industry maintenance vessel provider Gulf Marine Services (GMS) is up 7.5% to 110.7p as it announces a four year charter for one of its large class vessels. The financial details of the contract have not been disclosed but it will commence with an unnamed national oil company in the Middle East & North Africa region at the end of the first quarter.
Small cap telecom, IT and energy recruiter Networkers International (NWKI:AIM) jumps 15% to 63p after the majority of its shareholders agree to an acquisition by industry peer Matchtech (MTEC:AIM). The cash and shares deal values Networkers at around 67.4p a share.
IRN BRU-to-Strathmore water maker A.G. Barr (BAG) refreshes portfolios with a 15p rise to 645p on a strong fourth quarter update. Following a third quarter slowdown, Barr enjoyed renewed sales momentum in the final quarter to outperform a subdued soft drinks market.
Gift wrap-to-greetings cards manufacturer International Greetings (IGR:AIM), highlighted as an AIM star by Shares recently, gains 2.1% to 72.5p on a third quarter trading statement. CEO Paul Fineman flags a good Christmas performance, profitable trading across all regions and assures the company is on track to deliver against full-year earnings per share growth forecasts.