UK shares add to yesterday's run-up in early deals on Thursday, shrugging off a slew of ex-dividends stocks, with blue-chip miners, supermarkets and financials firmer. The FTSE 100 index rises 25 points, or about 0.4%, to 6,363.
Grocery goliath Tesco (TSCO) ticks 2.3p higher to 171p after reached an agreement to settle a class action in New York on behalf of ADR holders and relating to last year's commercial income accounting scandal. One of two class actions Tesco faced in the USA, the settlement amounts to a $12 million payment with no admission of liability and removes another distraction for CEO Dave Lewis as he seeks to turn the corporate supertanker round.
Small-scale gas-to-liquids (GTL) specialist Velocys (VLS:AIM) gains 10.3% to 51p as it announces successful results from pilot tests at a US plant. The advances demonstrate significant process intensification, increasing capacity productivity and improving commercial performance. The findings are being incorporated into the design of the 4,800 barrel per day Ashtabula GTL plant being developed in Ohio.
After a poor reaction to yesterday's prelims Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) is back in the black today as it nets £29 million from its Wowcher online voucher business to a newly-formed venture majority owned by private equity firm Exponent. The company, up 3.6% to 693p, will take a 30% stake in the new vehicle.
Consumer payments specialist Paypoint (PAY) writes down the value of its online business to zero and negotiations to sell the unit are not progressing well. It results in an £18 million charge to earnings and, coupled with a rate hike from its parcel delivery partner Yodel, the stock sinks 9.8% to 895p.
Skin-care company Sinclair IS Pharma (SPH:AIM) climbs 8% to 38.6p on selling its non-aesthetics business to Alliance Pharma (APH:AIM) for £132 million cash, more than half of its current £192 million market cap. Alliance Pharma falls 9.3% to 46.2p on the news.
A profit warning sees diagnostic-maker EKF’s (EKF:AIM) share price collapse 46.9% to 7.7p as revenues of £32 million for 2015 miss analysts £44 million forecasts. Write downs along with analysts questioning if the company failed to win new contracts in the second half are being blamed.
Drug delivery specialist SkyePharma (SKP) improves 3% to 321.3p on generating more cash than previously expected for the year to the end of December. Strong sales in Japan and positive pipeline developments sees N+1 Singer increase pre-tax profit forecasts for the three years from 2015 by 4%, 1% and 1%, respectively.