Blue chip stocks in London open flat at 7,092 after a directionless overnight session.

Gains in the US and Japan were tempered by flat performance in China and losses in India and Hong Kong. On currency markets, dollar strength accounts for most of the falls in sterling, yen and euro over the last 24 hours. One pound buys $1.231.

Elsewhere, precious metals prices gained, with gold up a fifth of a per cent at $1,263 an ounce, while energy prices fell led by West Texas Intermediate crude oil, down 0.4% to $51.13.

In corporate news, specialist fit fashion purveyor N Brown (BWNG) bounces 11.7% higher to 196.4p on the delivery of half year results ahead of expectations, good going given a tough Spring/Summer season for the entire UK apparel and footwear retailing sector. CEO Angela Spindler is particularly encouraged by the growth of the JD Williams brand and there's also relief as she assures N Brown, which has recent form with profit warnings, is on track to meet full year expectations.

Net fee income (NFI) growth at white collar recruiter PageGroup (PAGE) falls from 3.7% in the second quarter of 2016 to 1.3% in the three months to 30 September. All but one of the professional services specialist's four global regions declined at constant currency, with Europe the only gainer, up 10.4%. Shares trade 3.8% higher at 386p.

Chief executive David Hummel at chemicals outfit Victrex (VCT) says its financial year running to 30 September finished strongly, though full-year reported revenues will be down around 4%. Revenue and volume grew in the second half of the year but Hummel remains cautious on performance in the year ahead because of weak demand for consumer electronics. Victrex's stock is 1.2% at £16.41.

Investors hug global lifestyle brand Ted Baker (TED) tight, the shares bid up 4.8% to £25.32 on better-than-expected half year results boosted by good growth in the US and a strong licensing performance.

The quirky designer label's taxable profits are up more than 20% to £21.5 million and Ted confidently raises the dividend 12.1% to 14.8p. The fashion retailer is pleased with the reaction to its Autumn/Winter collections, yet cautions 'on-going external factors impacting trading across our established markets have meant that conditions remain challenging'.

Translation business RWS (RWS:AIM) gains 7.7% to 271p on record results after the acquisition of two businesses over the past 12 months. Revenue and adjusted profit before tax for the year to 30 September 2016 will be 'not less than' £122 million and £30.5 million, respectively. That represents a revenue gain of 28% and 34% year-on-year, according to chairman Andrew Brode.

Prairie Mining (PDZ:AIM) has bought the Debiensko coking coal mine in Poland, previously the flagship growth project of New World Resources. Prairie is paying €2m for the asset which has already been subject to significant levels of planning. The market likes the news, sending the shares up 20.8% to 14.5p.

Pure Gym has cancelled its London IPO, citing market volatility. ‘Board has decided not to proceed with a listing despite the strong interest shown by potential investors,’ says chief executive Humphrey Cobbold.

More to follow...


Issue Date: 11 Oct 2016