Recruitment consultant Hays (HAS) says full-year operating profit will be at the top end of market forecasts, thanks to another good performance. Third quarter results today trigger upgrades from analysts and drives the share price up 4.6% to 151.4p. We recently interviewed Hays' finance director in a 'Griller' article. We also talked about the company's prospect as part of a bigger look at the recruitment sector in March.
Bombed-out mother and baby products retailer Mothercare (MTC) rebounds 11.8% to 182.5p. Having rocked the market with a severe January profit warning, its fourth quarter trading update flags 'some improvement' in UK and international trading and reassures full-year figures will meet downgraded forecasts. Nevertheless, analysts are expected to downgrade March 2015 forecasts to reflect currency headwinds.
Having seen its share price rise in early trading, high street bellwether Marks & Spencer (MKS) loses momentum with the stock now down 0.7% at 453p. The retail giant's fourth quarter trading update highlights an improved clothing performance with womenswear showing vital signs. Read our news analysis.
Bathroom fit-out specialist Norcros (NXR) jumps 7.3% to 22p after a trading update shows expectations of full-year revenue at £229 million and a 25% hike in underlying profit to £16.3 million. We explain the reasons behind the progress in this article.
Resilient newspapers-to-stationery seller WH Smith (SMWH) clips ahead 2.7% to £12.02 on strong half-year figures. Taxable profits are up 3% to £70 million despite a 4% decline in like-for-like sales, while the dividend is raised by 15%. WH Smith reports profit growth in both its high street and travel divisions, the latter boosted by recent improvement in air passenger numbers.
North Sea and Norway focused Faroe Petroleum (FPM:AIM) gains 10.5% to 139.25p as it announces a gas and condensate discovery at the Solberg well in the Norwegian Sea and positive flow results from its Pil find. Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Sam Wahan comments: 'Today's discovery at Solberg follows recent discoveries on Snilehorn and Pil, illustrating continued success with the drill-bit and validating the company's high impact exploration programme.'
Strong final quarter trading is reported by scientific equipment designer Oxford Instruments (OXIG), boosted by last year's Andor Technology acquisition. But the trading statement also flags that foreign exchange headwinds are capping the impact. The shares fall 2.8% to £13.91.
888 (888) has bucked the negative market trends in poker and bingo with an 11% increase in first quarter net revenue to $113.8 million. 888 has seen growth in all of its core gambling products. The shares rise 1.4% to 154.15p. Read our recent interview with the company.
Hopes by Sports Stars Media (SPSM:AIM) to cash in on Jose Mourinho's football celebrity status have been dashed after the small cap announces plans to sell its business for £1 and turn into a natural resources-focused investment vehicle. The media company has been developing cartoons and trading card games using the Chelsea boss' name and image but the cash has dried up. Potential investors say they will only back the business if it becomes a private company, hence the corporate restructuring. The shares plummet 65% to 0.13p.
Progress in the IT security space gives a pair of small specialist a nudge higher. Cyber protection specialist Corero Network Security (CNS:AIM) rises 1.5% to 17p after winning a couple of new contracts, while Accumuli (ACM:AIM) rises 2.2% to 23p after confirming a 38% jump to £2.9 million in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the year to March. Accumuli is a running Shares Play of the Week from February at 20p.
Georgia focused exploration and production firm Frontera Resources (FRR:AIM) gains 12.9% to 0.7p as it announces a farm-out of its Tarabani field. Privately-held Varang Exploration will earn a 50% interest in the asset in return for carrying the costs of a work programme worth up to $36 million.
Gene-based drug developer Oxford BioMedica (OXB) drops 4.9% to 2.3p as its losses widen 21% to £12.8 million in 2013. Net cash fell to £2.2 million from £14.1 million during a challenging year where it suspended its clinical studies for five months.