UK stocks stride higher in early trading on Thursday as dovish Federal Reserve meeting minutes send a wave of encouragement through financial markets. The UK's FTSE 100 index jumps 51.5 points to 6,534, a rough 0.8% rise.
Precious metal miners Randgold Resources (RRS) and Fresnillo (FRES) lead the blue-chips leaderboard, up 7.3% to £43.48 and 5.9% at 766.5p respectively. A weakening dollar prompts a jump in gold and silver prices, benefiting midcaps caps Polymetal (POLY) (4.9% ahead at 493.8p) and Centamin (CEY) (up 5% to 60.7p), the latter also announcing that third-quarter gold output increased by 15%.
UK microchip designs champion ARM (ARM) is among the leading Footsie performers in early trade as it strengthens its Far East board experience. The shares rally 3.5% to 886p as Dr John Lui joins as a non-executive director, adding substantial expertise and contacts across the Asian technology space.
But profit alerts continue to rain down at a steady pace, plus-size fashion retailer N Brown (BWNG), slumping 12.6% to 304.3p as it disappoints with a warm weather-related profits warning. The company behind the Simply Be and Jacamo brands, warms that mild September weather have led to a weak start to the third quarter which hit full year profits, as flagged by Shares recently. This comes alongside a decent first half showing which is slightly better than subdued expectations.
Recruiter Hays (HAS) adds to a week of strong gains as a solid first quarter interim management statement to end-September pleases. Net fees increased 4% across the group driven by a 13% improvement in the UK and net debt fell a further £3 million to £60 million. The stock jumps 6.4% to 125.8p.
Software analytics supplier Kofax (KFX) comes under the cosh as first quarter revenue and profit guidance undershoots expectations. The shares tumble more than 3.5% to 410p, wiping out gains made since July.
The contracts curse strikes financial software company Gresham Computing (GHT:AIM) as several deals move to the right, meaning total revenue for 2014 will be 10% to 15% lower than expectations. N+1 Singer analysts slash sales targets this year from £15 million to £12.8 million, hitting earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) from £3.2 million to just £1 million. 2015 forecast have also been cut.
Industrial services provider Cape's (CIU) capital markets day yesterday (8 Oct) is doing the trick with the shares up 5.5% to 279.5p. Numis says the event reinforced the fact the business has been 'stabilised' and adds it should benefit from 'continued growth in IOC (independent oil company) and NOC (national oil company) maintenance spend.' Shares looked at the story in depth recently.
Oil services firm Wood Group (WG) is up 5.5% to 716p as its third quarter trading update confirms full year numbers will be in-line with expectations. The market clearly expecting a downgrade given the collapse in oil prices in the last three months.
A new legal framework for the Bahamas oil industry, announced late Wednesday (8 Oct), could help Bahamas Petroleum (BPC:AIM) secure the partner it needs to fund a stalled exploration effort off the islands and the shares gain 20.9% to 4.1p.
New Britain Palm Oil (NBPO) surges 76% (293.5p) higher to 680p as plantations giant Sime Darby makes a 715p per share cash offer for the sustainable palm oil producer, an 85% premium to yesterday's closing price.