London’s FTSE 100 starts the week on a quiet note, nudging 6 points higher to 7,230.5 on Monday with economic news thin on the ground.
However, engineer GKN (GKN) rises 8.6p or 2% to 443.7p as Melrose Industries (MRO) raises its takeover offer from £7.4bn to £8.1bn. The engineering turnaround specialist states the new bid represents its final offer and won’t be increased under any circumstances, while GKN’s board, which had struck a deal to merge its automotive business with US company Dana to fend off Melrose’s hostile takeover, says it is ‘currently evaluating the revised offer’.
Drugs giant AstraZeneca (AZN) cheapens 3.5p to £47.82 on the disappointing news it now expects a key lung cancer study of two immunotherapy drugs to produce overall survival results in the second half of 2018, rather than the first half.
Disappointment centres on the US Food and Drug Administration’s need for Vectura’s partner Hikma to complete an additional clinical study for a US generic version of asthma treatment Advair Diskus. Hikma anticipates patient enrolment in the coming weeks and intends to submit the response to the regulator with new clinical data ‘as early as possible in 2019’.
Shipping services provider Clarkson (CKN) sails 15p higher to £33.05 on strong full year results aided by early signs of recovery across its shipping markets. Clarkson grew underlying profit before tax by 12% to £50.2m for the 2017 calendar year and hikes the shareholder reward by the same percentage to 73p, marking 15 years of consecutive dividend increases.
Russian warehouses operator Raven Russia (RUS) rises 6.5% to 45.9p on better than expected 2017 results, with earnings per share up 19% to 8.56 cents, net asset value up 13% to 80 cents and the dividend increased 60% to 4p.
Premium memory foam mattress business seller Eve Sleep (EVE:AIM) edges 1p higher to 128.5p. The European sleep brand reports sales up 132% to £27.7m for 2017 with improved gross margins, reflecting growth in the UK and overseas. 2018 has started strongly, while Eve continues to target UK profitability in the fourth quarter of 2018 ahead of group profitability by the end of 2019.
Esports entertainment play Gfinity (GFIN:AIM) sparks up 4.8% to 19p after signing an agreement with Facebook for the exclusive global online streaming rights for the Gfinity Elite Series until the end of 2018 (excluding Australia).