European markets are off to a strong start on Valentine’s Day, the FTSE 100 continuing to show resilience in the face of yesterday’s high inflation figure and trading 42.2 points up at 7,210.2 early on.

Distinctly unloved however is housebuilder-to-construction firm Galliford Try (GFRD), which slumps 14.8% lower to 841.5p despite posting robust half year results with its Linden Homes arm in fine fettle.

Investors are spurning Galliford on news it is raising £150m to shore up its balance sheet due to financial pressures arising from the liquidation of Carillion (CLLN) and cost over-runs on its Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) joint venture with Carillion and Balfour Beatty (BBY).

Unloved support services outfit Serco (SRP) edges 1% ahead to 84.4p after securing a discount on its purchase of Carillion’s healthcare contracts. In December, Serco agreed to purchase the contracts for managing UK health facilities for £4.7m.

However, following Serco’s ‘re-evaluation of potential liabilities, indemnities, warranties and the additional working capital investment required as a result of Carillion's liquidation’, it is paying a mere £29.7m.

Soft drinks colossus Coca-Cola HBC (CCH) fizzes 3.2% higher to £23.07 as the Coke bottler heralds an ‘exceptional’ set of full year results. Profits come in slightly ahead of market expectations as broad based growth, a significant increase in emerging markets profitability, operational leverage and cost control combine.

Rupert Murdoch’s Sky (SKY) skips 32.5p higher to £10.94 after agreeing to pay £3.58bn for a three-year deal to show 128 Premier League matches a season from 2019/20, less than it paid for its current broadcast deal.

Online trading platform Plus500 (PLUS:AIM), which enables retail customers to trade Contracts for Difference (CFDs), powers 8.3% north to £12.78 after posting forecast-busting results for 2017, also a bumper year in terms of dividends and buybacks.

Asaf Elimelech-led Plus500 also expects 2018 sales to be ‘significantly ahead of market expectations’, drawing confidence from a stellar start to the New Year.

Agri-services group Origin Enterprises (OGN:AIM) cheapens 1.7% to €5.8 as instrumental finance director Imelda Hurley hands in her notice.

US-focused oil producer Nighthawk Energy (HAWK:AIM) swoops 10% lower to 0.45p on the news finance director and corporate secretary Kurtis Hooley has tendered his resignation.


Issue Date: 14 Feb 2018