Gold is back on the move again, rising above $1,300 per ounce and taking gold mining equities along for the ride. Fresnillo (FRES) rises 5.3% to £10.84; Polymetal (POLY) advances 5% to 627p; and African Barrick Gold (ABG) moves 4.9% higher to 111.9p.
Baby products retailer Mothercare (MTC) is up 3.1% to 480.75p. The reason is not because there's a royal baby on the way but rather reports Mothercare is considering the sale of its struggling Early Learning Centre chain as it seeks to return its troubled UK operations to profitability by 2015. Last week (18 July), the £411.1 million cap mother and baby products retailer reported a 3.4% fall in first quarter sales which included a 7.9% drop in UK revenues, although international sales skipped more than 14% higher.
The recovery trade in cost specialist-to-project manager for large property builds, Sweett (CSG:AIM) continues to have legs. A trading update reveals that results for the financial year to 31 March 2014 will be 'significantly ahead of market expectations', sending the shares up 17.3% to 30.5p. Sweett is now up 60.5% since Shares said to buy at 19p less than a month ago.
Another Shares small cap favourite, Driver (DRV:AIM) will also beat expectations for its current financial year, ending 30 September, sending the stock up 7.3% to 102.5p. We predicted earnings upgrades were in the making in a story published on 30 May.
African Mining & Exploration (AME:AIM) is up 20% to 2.25p as recently-appointed director David Archer says he will invest up to £500,000 in company stock.
Gemfields (GEM:AIM) advances 4.9% to 21.5p after its latest emerald and beryl auction secured decent selling prices. There was a concern that holding the auction in Zambia – at the behest of the government which has imposed a temporary ban on selling stones outside of the country – wouldn't get the same prices for higher-quality stones than in other parts of the world. Gemfields had planned to hold the auction in Singapore but adhered to the Zambia government's wishes and switched venue last month. It is good for Gemfields to get decent selling prices but it will merely give the Zambia government a good argument on which to maintain the auction location restrictions.
Investors look displeased at a £19.4 million takeover bid for Ultimate Finance (UFG:AIM) as the shares are down 13.6% to 23p. Former pharmaceuticals group Renovo (RNVO:AIM) is the predator, having first invested in the financial services provider last December after becoming a cash shell. It is paying 6p cash and 1.05 new Renovo shares for each share in Ultimate Finance. Shareholders are no doubt displeased at the cash element of the bid only being a small amount.
Chinese chemicals business Haike Chemical (HAIK:AIM) is down 9.4% to 19.25p after reporting increased losses and increased bank borrowings in the first half of the year. Losses widened 53.7% to CNY327 million in the first half with short-term debt up by approximately CNY575 million to CNY6.6 billion
Brick-maker Michelmersh (MBH) dips 4.11% to 35p despite an increase in activity in the six months ended 30 June 2013, quite an achievement given adverse weather conditions affecting the construction industry in the early part of the year. Half-year results are due on 2 September 2013.
Specialty chemicals outfit Revolymer (REVO) climbs 4.63% to 56.5p after the £28.7 million cap secures a contract to supply its nicotine gum to a Canadian retailer. The company has already started manufacturing and the product is scheduled to be on the shelves in the fourth quarter of 2013.