The hot weather has, unsurprisingly, been a boost to trading among the quoted pub companies. Fuller, Smith & Turner (FSTA) leads the pack with 10% rise in like-for-like sales in the 16 weeks to 20 July, sending its share price up 1.7% to 941p. Read our news analysis from June on how the pub company has found a new lease of life.
Given this tough industry comparative, poor old Marston's (MARS) couldn't join the party as its 6% rise in like-for-like sales in the 10 weeks to 20 July obviously wasn't deemed good enough, taking its shares down 3.7% to 158.5p. Contributing to this was the expectation that analysts will slightly nudge down earnings forecast to reflect quicker pub disposals in its non-core estate. Faring even worse is Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) which only managed a 2% rise in like-for-like sales over the nine weeks to 20 July. The Harvester-to-All Bar One owner slips 6.3% to 400p as the sales figures are way below analyst expectations.
Having risen 50% since late 2012, Capita (CPI) needed to produce a stonking set of interims to sustain that momentum. The results look fine with a 10% rise in underlying pre-tax profit yet analysts reckon now is a good time to take profits, which seems to be what investors are doing as the shares fall 3.4% to £10.02. Companies like Capita in the outsourced service market are battling lower profit margins and difficulties in market segments like insurance and property.
A 7% rise in copper cathode production from Kazakhmys (KAZ) has been ignored by investors as there's bigger worries clouding its outlook. Goldman Sachs last night published new commodity price forecasts and declared copper to be one of its least preferred metals over the next 12 months.
Orsu Metals (OSU:AIM) jumps 112% to 6.38p after Gold Fields finally gets the green light to subscribe for shares in the junior miner. Gold Fields bought Orsu's 40% stake in the Talas project in 2012 for $10 million and also agreed to subscribe for 25 million shares at 40c. The deal was dependent on getting approval from the Kazakhstan government which has now been secured.
Telecoms giant BT (BT.A) slips 2% to 333.8p on first-quarter results despite signing-up over 500,000 subscribers since unveiling its BTSports TV plans to air free, live Premier League football (read Shares' view). The channels are set to start broadcasting 1 August. But the market seems to be missing the vital point that most of the subscribers are likely to be existing phone and broadband customers that also pay for Sky TV. These are thought to have been most at risk of churning away to rival Sky, so this is encouraging for its base, with an extra half a million signed-up for another year.
Staying with the telecoms sector, Colt (COLT) continues its long-winded attempt to tap data centre growth in the face of falling core voice revenues. But the market remain unimpressed by half-year results, the shares falling 3% to 104.3p. Shares readers won't be surprised, we flagged the unappealing story back in March.
Highly indebted directories business Hibu (HIBU) is suspended on news of a debt-for-equity swap which will see the company’s borrowers exchange their £2.3 billion debt for control of the £4 million cap.
Academic publisher Reed Elsevier (REL) is up 3.2% to 826p following reassuring first-half numbers. The £9.5 billion cap reported respective underlying revenue and profit growth of 2% and 6%. Read our December 2012 analysis of the stock.
Newspaper and business publisher Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) slips 1% to 782p, perhaps on profit taking, following in-line third-quarter numbers. Underlying group sales rose 3% in the three months to the end of June.
Oil services firm Kentz (KENZ), which we flagged in this week's sector report, falls 1.1% to 417.5p despite announcing a project management consultancy services contract on Transnet's New Multi-Product Pipeline project in South Africa. This takes the value of its contracts with the port and pipeline specialist to more than $30 million.
Defence technology firm QinetiQ (QQ.) ticks up 2% to 188.8p despite a second-quarter update which reveals pressure on its US business. The market takes comfort from renewed full-year guidance and a steady performance from its UK services arm. We looked at its prospects in detail in May.
IRN-BRU maker A.G. Barr (BAG) is showing some fizz, putting on 3p at 560.5p on a positive trading update. The Glasgow-based branded soft drinks maker, now proceeding with its strategy independently following termination of merger talks with Britvic (BVIC) fizzled out, continues to grow well ahead of the market and expects to post 4.9% year-on-year sales growth to £127.5 million for the half to 28 July. The growth rate has picked up in the second quarter, driven by canny marketing of core brands and a good boost from the recent hot weather, as foreshadowed by Shares last week.
Hobby products play Hornby (HRN) is a non-mover at 82.5p after delivering a solid first-quarter update. Excluding London 2012 products, sales were flat on last year with the Airfix and Corgi brands performing strongly yet Scalextric losing ground. Investors were also reassured by news the current year impact of the administration of Modelzone, one of the £31.3 million cap's larger customers, has been limited to a £200,000 write off. Hornby expects to be able to replace the bulk of the sales with other model shops and national retailers as well through its own online platform.
Mobile ERP specialist Globo (GBO:AIM) jumps over 6% to 42p after upping full-year profits guidance in light of a 51% half year revenues leap. Its recent tie-up with Ingram bodes well for more rapid top line growth to come. A long-running favourite at Shares, the price has doubled since our January story.
Lighting controls microcap CYAN (CYAN:AIM) takes an interesting step into Brazil with a $135,000 order and partnership. Investors like the move, swooping on the shares and sparking an for an 11.5% jump to 0.44p.
Specialist pharmaceutical group Clinigen (CLIN: AIM) advances 5.5% to 343p after management reported that trading in the year to 30 June has beaten market expectations. Numis upgrades Clinigen’s earnings per share forecast for the current financial year by 14%. Clinigen is a running Shares Play of the Week and our top pick for the Midlands region in the current Best of British series.
Flexible office provider Workspace (WKP) traded 0.9% higher this morning at 450p following a positive first-quarter update. In the three months to July its rental income increased 1.6% to £45.2 million, while occupancy was up 0.4% to 90.4%. It also raised £8 million from non-core disposals and completed refurbishments that added £500,000 from its rent roll.