The FTSE 100 is on the front foot, up around 16 points to 7,702 after a poor showing yesterday. The performance follows a strong session overnight in Asia although many are still concerned about the situation in Italy and President Trump’s continued rhetoric over trade wars.
Book retailer WH Smith (SMWH) gains 4.1% to £20.56 on news that its third quarter sales figures are up by 4% year-on-year. Its travel business sales increased by 8% with its like-for-like sales up 3%. The company’s travel business is offsetting some weakness in its high street division which had sales down by 1% although it says the period of 13 weeks to 2 June s usually its quietest.
Office and studio space provider Workspace (WKP) is down 6.5% to £10.89 as it places over 16m shares to fund its growth plan. The company is looking for further target acquisitions in London as well as funding for ‘general corporate actions’.
Plastics company RPC (RPC) loses 13.3% to 671p as management expect its growth to slow going forward. Despite descent full year results, the company’s share price has been impacted by negative sentiment regarding the use of plastics. For instance the EU has proposed measures against single use plastic items such as cutlery and straws as well calls for all plastic bottles to be recycled.
On the AIM market, asset management consultancy Alpha Financial Markets Consulting (AFM:AIM) ticks up 7.5% to 207p as it releases a strong set of full year results. In the 12 months to 31 March the company’s revenue is up 51.5% to £66m, with adjusted operating profit improving by 65% to £13.6m. CEO Euan Fraser describes 2018 as ‘the most successful in Alpha’s history’.
Pharma company Oxford Biomedica (OXB) gains 16% to 840.1p on entering into a $842.5m licensing agreement with Axovant Sciences for one of its drugs. OXB-102 is a gene therapy developed by the company to treat Parkinson’s disease.
Media company ITE (ITE) drops 3.4% to 136.4p as it announces a rights issue to raise proceeds of around £265m to finance the acquisition of rival media company Ascential (ASCL). The latter’s share price is down slightly by 1.6p to 430.6p.