Intertek (ITRK) continues to suffer from reduced activity in the field of commodity testing, sending its share price down 3.6% to £30.66. Organic growth is below analyst expectations, triggering earnings downgrades. Yet the FTSE 100 constituent says tight control of costs means that margin decline should be much less in the second half than the six months being reported today.
Middle East and North Africa oil and gas firm Afren (AFR) gains 8.5% to 161.5p on a substantial increase in estimated recoverable oil from Ogo discovery offshore Nigeria. We take a look at the story in more detail here.
Impressive full-year results from low-cost carrier EasyJet (EZJ) see the Luton-based airline rise 8.2% to £13.59 on the back of 50.9% rise in pre-tax profit. The sweetener is a 44.1p per share special dividend on top of its regular dividend which is 33.5p per share.
Oil explorer Heritage Oil (HOIL), which also has acreage in the West African country, gains 5.8% to 183.5p on a strong trading update. The group reports increased output and revenues in the third quarter as Nigerian assets begin to ramp up. Third quarter revenues were $49.1 million, up from $2.1 million last year.
After a spate of profit warnings in the oil services sector, investors respond warmly to a reassuring trading update from AMEC (AMEC). It advances 1.5% to £11.84 after saying it should meet 2013 guidance and possibly return to cash to shareholders this quarter if it cannot identify suitable acquisitions.
Free-to-air broadcaster ITV (ITV) slips 0.7% to 186p as investors take profits on the back of a third quarter trading update following a strong run. Numis Securities upgrade its 2013 and 2014 forecasts.
Retail derivatives specialist IG (IGG) slips 3.3% to 594p on the back of an in-line second quarter trading update. Profit taking is seen as the cause of the retreat given the counter was up 47% in the year to yesterday’s close.
Mobile communications designer Sepura (SEPU:AIM) dives 6% to 133p as forex drags on profits at the half year. This is despite €46 million revenues beating €44.6 million expectations at this stage.
A mis-selling scandal continues to weigh on Homeserve (HSV) as the cost of re-contacting customers during its first-half period has wiped out nearly its entire profit. The home emergency insurer has taken a £19 million exceptional charge which leaves the business with just £600,000 pre-tax profit for the period versus £19.1 million a year ago. The financial regulator continues to investigate Homeserve's past selling practices. The shares rise 0.9% to 246.25p.
Unfavourable sports results have depressed Paddy Power (PAP), forcing it to lower earnings guidance. The bookmaker falls 6.5% to €58.44.
Long-standing chief executive officer Ted Tuppen is to leave Enterprise Inns (ETI) next May. He'll be replaced by chief operating officer Simon Townsend. The news coincides with full-year results that show a £42 million pre-tax loss, depressed by lower valuation of its pub estate and related assets. If you just look at the general trading, operating profit is also down on last year at £296 million. The shares rise 3.7% to 143.15p.
Mineral sands producer Sierra Rutile (SRX:AIM) rises 12.8% to 64p after admitting it has received an approach that may potentially lead to a takeover.
Switchboard automation and online payments supplier Eckoh (ECK:AIM) sees revenues beating expectations this year as its posts £6.3 million first-half sales showing 12% organic growth and 18% including acquisitions. Earlier this month Eckoh won its biggest ever contract worth £11 million.
Solar panels manufacturer PV Solar Crystalox (PVCS:AIM) stays in cash conservation mode with the panels market still flooded with cheap units. But the shares nudge 3.7% higher to 14p thanks to confirmation of its 7.25p cash return, subject to shareholder approval next month.
Luxury interior furnishings firm Walker Greenbank (WGB:AIM) puts on 2.75p at 156.5p after commissioning a second fast-run digital fabrics printer at its Lancaster factory to sate bumper demand. In the first six months of the year, the £90 million cap's digital fabric printing sales rose 121% to £1.7 million, matching the entire previous year's sales. We recently highlighted the firm's investment attractions.
Floorcoverings distributor Headlam (HEAD) hops 12.5p higher to 410p on a well-received trading statement. Over the nine months to 30 September, UK like-for-like sales improved by 0.6%, helped by a positive third quarter. The £330.4 million cap reports an upturn in the market during October and November.
Meat retailer Crawshaw (CRAW:AIM), an interesting micro cap previously flagged by Shares, fattens up 20% to 12.75p on a tasty trading update. The butcher says like-for-like sales were 18% ahead over the past seven weeks and won at higher gross margin.
Sexual health-focused pharmaceutical Plethora Solutions (PLE) rises 6.7% to 17.5p on European approval for its premature ejaculation treatment. It estimates that up to 45 million men across the continent suffer from the condition with broker Hybridan estimating that Plethora could sell £48 million of the product in just five European countries.
GW Pharmaceuticals (GWP) falls 8.1% to 163.5p after moving back into a loss-making position. Last year's comparative figures were flattered by a £9.8 million milestone payment.