Mother and baby specialist Mothercare (MTC) nurtures a 2.6% gain to 425p as interim figures meet expectations and there's an encouraging strategic update on its loss-making UK business. The £365 million cap reports a return to half-year profit, swinging from £1.8 million losses to £2 million of underlying taxable profits for the six months to 12 October, although UK like-for-like sales stayed in negative territory. With store closures and related savings coming through, Mothercare continues to target a return to profit in the UK.
Gold miners fall after bearish minutes from the Federal Reserve meeting that indicate tapering its $85 billion a month bond-buying programme may start in the coming months. Gold fell in price last night and presently trades at $1,249 per ounce. That sends miners Petropavlovsk (POG) down 2.5% to 67p; Polymetal (POLY) dips 2.3% to 528.5p; and Fresnillo (FRES) slips2.3% to 884p.
Publisher Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) rises 2.5% to 861p on the back of better-than-expected finals. While revenues were in line, margins were ahead of stockbroker Numis’ expectations thanks to a strong performance from the group’s business-to-business operations. Despite the beat Numis held its 2014 numbers steady. Read-across from these strong numbers were the cause of this morning’s other winner, Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM), which jumped 2.5% in early trade to £11.58 with the firm being 68% owned by Daily Mail and General Trust.
It is 17 consecutive years of dividend growth for Young’s & Co Brewery (YNGA:AIM) as the pubs operator raises its shareholder payout by 6.1% at today’s half-year results which we explore in more detail here. The share price increases 2% to £10.30.
Diversified financial services firm Close Brothers (CBG) rises 2% to £12.70, with its market making operation Winterflood getting a boost from private investor trade flows following the Royal Mail (RMG) float.
Beer brewing behemoth SABMiller (SAB) froths up 21.5p to £32.57 on encouraging half-time numbers to 30 September. The Peroni Nastro Azzurro-to-Miller Lite seller brews up 5% growth in taxable profits to US$2.87 billion, while better-than-expected organic EBITA growth of 7% leaves investors refreshed this morning.
Fashion retailer French Connection (FCCN) firms 5% to 42p on a well received third quarter trading update. The £38.4 million cap flags improved performance within its UK and European retail business, with like-for-like sales 2.1% ahead over the 16 weeks to 20 November.
Technology-led defence firm QinetiQ (QQ.) continues to be affected by US spending cuts as it reports a 9% fall in first-half pre-tax profit to £72.6 million. However the shares gain 7% as the company raises its dividend 27% and maintains its full-year guidance.
Identity management software designer Intercede (IGP:AIM) leaps more than 13% to 157.5p after posting its highest six-month sales period to date. Interim revenues increase 32% to £4.6 million, helping the company's bottom line bounce back into the black, although it leaves the shares pitched at a 50-times March 2015 price/earnings ratio.
Finnish nickel miner Talvivaara (TALV) slumps 11.4% to 3.5p after saying it only has enough cash to keep the business going until the first quarter of 2014.
Oil explorer Faroe Petroleum (FPM:AIM) slips 3.8% to 124.4p as it announces production from the Njord field in Norway is unlikely to recommence until the second quarter of next year. The Statoil (NYSE:STO) operated facility has been scrutinised on structural integrity grounds and it has been decided that the deck must be reinforced. Broker Numis Securities comments: There does sound like some uncertainty on when and how Njord/Hyme will be returned to production.' Faroe is currently engaged in a multi-well exploration programme.
Running Play of the Week Enteq Upstream (NTQ:AIM) slumps 9.7% to 56.2p on in-line interim results. House broker Investec cuts forecast EPS for the March 2015 and March 2016 financial years by 24% to 9c and 26% to 9.8c citing lower gross margins and increased costs.
New customers, new products and swelling orders see Netcall (NET:AIM) sales 'considerably ahead of last year.' The market expects £17.1 million of revenue in the year to June 2014. The shares 6% rise to 43.5p, closing in on finnCap's 47p price target.
Indoor/outdoor geo-location software supplier Ubisense (UBI:AIM) signs its fourth 'smart factory' suite deal with an unnamed large car maker. That sparks a near-9% share price rise to 214p. We looked at the company in October; read that article here.