With equity markets worldwide on course for their best week since late November the FTSE 100 is ahead by 0.6% to 6,986.55 closing on the psychologically significant 7,000 mark.

Struggling regional carrier Flybe (FLYB) agrees to be taken over for £2.2m by a joint venture comprising Stobart Group (STOB), Virgin Atlantic and funds managed by Cyrus Capital Partners.

The joint venture, dubbed Connect Airways, offers just 1p for each Flybe share.

Connect Airways pledges a £20m bridge loan facility to support Flybe's ongoing working capital and operational requirements.

The joint venture is also planning to provide up to £80m of further funding to invest in the business and support its growth.

Unsurprisingly given the massive discount to last night’s closing share price, Flybe enters a nosedive, down 75% to 4p. Stobart meanwhile is up 8.8% to 163.2p.

Online electrical retailer AO World (AO.) gains 3.6% to 128.6p as it keeps its full-year guidance unchanged. A decision to extend Black Friday deals over a long period in November was 'well received' by customers, supporting an 8.2% rise in third-quarter revenue.

'AO World remains on track to deliver its long-term strategic plan and the board's expectations for the full year remain unchanged,' the retailer confirmed.

UK revenue growth was 4.4% for the quarter, which the company attributed to offering Black Friday deals over a longer time period in November, smoother sales flow and improved margins.

The company recorded its highest sales month ever in November.

Builders merchant and DIY outfit Grafton (GFTU) advances 2.5% to 717.5p as it guides for earnings 'slightly' ahead of the top end of analyst expectations.

Mens' suit retailer Moss Brothers (MOSB) says it expects to post an annual loss as its margins shrink, while forecasting an 'extremely challenging' period ahead.

For the 23 weeks between 29 July and 5 January, the company says its sales rose 0.6% on-year, but fell 1.1% on a like-for-like basis.

Margins, meanwhile, had been hurt by heavy discounting to remain competitive. Moss Brothers said it expected to post an adjusted loss for the year through January of £0.6m, which it says is in line with current revised market consensus.

Expectations were already pitched pretty low and the shares rise 2.7% on the update to 26.9p.

Legal services marketing business NAHL (NAH:AIM) expects to post profits below its previous expectations after a 'disappointing' end to the year.

Profits and adjusted earnings per share were both expected to be 5-10% below previous management expectations. The shares drop 18.9% to 90p.

Fashion retailer Quiz (QUIZ:AIM) downgrades its earnings and revenue guidance in the wake of a tough Christmas trading period and higher spending on staff and marketing.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for the year through March is expected to be in the region of £8.2m, on revenue of around £133m.

The revenue guidance still marks an increase from £116.4m year-on-year but undershoots current market expectations. Sales for the six-week period from 25 November to 5 January rose 8.4%. but the company engaged in deeper-than-expected discounting to clear inventory.

Management software provider Sopheon (SPE:AIM) slips 5.2% to £12.65 despite saying it may post a higher-than-expected annual profit after its sales continued to surge in the final months of the year.

Pub operator Ei Group (EIG) gains 3% to 203.5p as it agrees to sell the bulk of its property portfolio to Tavern Propco for £348m. The sale of 370 properties, including public houses and other commercial properties, represents a 'significant' proportion of the current Ei Commercial Properties division, which had a portfolio of 412 properties.


Issue Date: 11 Jan 2019