Despite lingering excitement over last week's Federal Reserve tapering decision and Angela Merkel's success in securing a third term as German Chancellor, investors appear cautious today with the FTSE 100 falling 23.6 points to 6,572.8 points by Monday lunchtime. Among the main movers is FTSE 250 oil explorer Ophir Energy (OPHR), which ticks up 0.6% to 337.8p as it secures a rig for a six-well drilling campaign offshore West Africa commencing February 2014. The first well will target a one-billion barrel prospect on the Ntsina Block off the coast of Gabon.
Elsewhere, Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) rises 2.1% to 395.5p on the back of an encouraging pre-close trading update which unveils gross new business worth £7 billion over July and August.
Cathedral City-to-Country Life maker Dairy Crest (DCG) adds 3.2p at 474.8p on a reassuring first-half trading update that evidences an improved performance from its four key brands. The £643 million cap reports a steady performance during the six months to end-September and is on course to meet profit expectations for the year to March. Investors also welcome confirmation of plans to add value to the by-product of cheese production, whey, through a £45 million investment to enable its use in the high-growth baby food market.
Cardiff-based cake and bread maker Finsbury Food (FIF:AIM) falls 5% to 72.25p on profit-taking following a strong year-to-date share price advance. Full-year figures from the £48.6 million cap, a running Shares Play of the Week, reveal 19% growth in taxable profits to £5.5 million. Having transformed its balance sheet through the disposal of its Free From business in February, Finsbury, which has reinstated the dividend, reports a 78% reduction in net debt to £7.4 million.
Mobile enterprise software specialist Globo (GBO:AIM) rallies 6.5% to 64.75p on interim results that show the rapid scale-up of its GO!Enterprise platform, just as Shares predicted in June. The suite's revenues rose 132% in the half and that pace looks set to accelerate after our Play of the Week secured a new expansion credit line worth up to €25 million.
Energy saving solutions are promising to transform the electronic components business of APC Technology (APC:AIM), formerly known as Advanced Power Components. A cleantech business revenue haul of £8 million in the year to end August sparks a forecast-thumping performance across the business, as Shares' Play of the Week story last week hinted. The news triggers a 4%-plus rise to 39p and generate a 22% paper profit for our Play in just three days.
High value projects keep on coming for services exchange platform business Blur (BLUR:AIM), the latest a $500,000 media industry workload. That pushes the shares 2.5% higher to 467.5p, a staggering 470% up on the 82p IPO price, and 55% up since Shares flagged encouraging KPI trends earlier this month.
Oil services minnow KBC Advanced Technologies (KBC:AIM) is up 1.8% on strong first half numbers, as we discuss in more detail here.
Its peer Oxford Catalysts (OCG:AIM) is up 2.5% to 141p as it is selected by privately-owned Pinto Energy to provide its technology on a 2,800 barrels per day gas-to-liquids development in Ohio.
Chinese coal bed methane play Green Dragon Gas (GDG:AIM) gains 7.9% to 300p as it reports a 98% year-on-year increase in revenue to $6.9 million and reiterates its 18 billion cubic feet (bcf) annual production target for 2014 (from a first half total in 2013 of 1.34 bcf). This will require significant investment and has implications for rig provider Greka Drilling (GDL:AIM) - up 10% to 22p. Green Dragon is Greka's main customer and the latter was spun out of the larger group in 2011.
Biotech firm Silence Therapeutics (SLN: AIM) rises 1.8% to 282p on news losses in the six months ended 30 June fell to £3.4 million from £23.5 million a year ago. The company has been bolstered by a £19 million placing.
Real estate developer and investor Macau Property Opportunities Fund (MPO) moves 2.6% higher to 193.5p following a strong performance in the year to July. The Guernsey-registered fund, which targets opportunities in Macau and China’s Pearl River Delta, saw its adjusted net asset value (NAV) per share increase 31.3% to 260p and expects further growth driven by demographic trends in its target markets.