London stocks rebound in early trade on Friday as oil prices reverse declines in the previous sessions and confidence increases that new measures in China can halt recent panic selling. Brent crude rose 1.6% to $34.33 per barrel while West Texas Intermediate increased 1.3% to $33.72 per barrel.
Engineering group GKN (GKN) and supermarket Tesco (TSCO) lead the blue-chip pack with 5.75% and 6% gains respectively, to 290.6p and 147.75p. But microchip plays are under pressure, ARM (ARM) the biggest blue-chip faller, down 1.8% at 950.5p, while Imagination Technologies (IMG), which Shares looked at in this week's issue, slides 5% to 118.75p.
Oil major Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) slumps 1.6% to £14.39 on reports in the Financial Times overnight that it will get the necessary shareholder support at its meetings on 27 and 28 January for its £36 billion tie-up with BG (BG.). The share price reaction suggests the market would rather Shell pulled the plug on the deal after the fresh downward leg in crude oil prices. BG is up 2.4% to 959.6p.
Paysafe (PAYS), previously Optimal Payments, gains 6.8% to 387p as it reports ‘strong growth across the group’s product lines, particularly in the processing division’s North American business’ in a trading statement. Revenue in the 12 months to 31 December 2015 was around $600 million (£411 million), management says, helped by the £800 million acquisition of online payments business Skrill in May.
Renewable energy play REACT Energy (REAC:AIM) jumps 33% to 4p as it secures a €750,000 loan facility from EBIOSS Energy. It will use proceeds for the continuing investment in its portfolio of biomass gasification projects in the UK.
Engineer Turbo Power Systems (TPS:AIM) rallies 18% to 0.33p as it expects report full year revenue of about £13.5 million, from £15.2 million a year earlier, with EBIT roughly breaking even, from a year-ago loss of £1.7 million.
Lifecycle software minnow Sopheon (SPE:AIM) jumps 15% to 72.5p as it flags better-than-expected trading. The company sees full year revenue in line with market views, but reckons EBITDA and pre-tax profits will beat market expectations.
Vimto-maker Nichols (NICL:AIM), a running Shares Play of the Week, shrugs off noise surrounding a potential sugar tax to froth 3p higher to £14.20. Non-executive chairman John Nichols still expects full-year results to show growth in profits and earnings per share, with growth internationally compensating for a marginal decline in UK sales.
Stoke-on-trent-based ceramics maker Churchill China (CHH:AIM) is in demand, bid up more than 9% to 807.5p on a positive full-year trading update. Buoyed by a better-than-expected second half, the Shares favourite says 2015 profits will beat current estimates and weigh in 'well ahead of 2014'.
Fresh meat and food-to-go retailer Crawshaw (CRAW:AIM) firms 1.25p to 84p on a reassuring update covering the 15 weeks to 3 January including Christmas. Total sales grew an impressive 64% with margins strengthening; like-for-like sales edged up 0.8%, good going given serious weather disruption in the north of England during the period.
Respiratory disease-focused drug-maker Ventura (VEC) advances 5% to 187p on completing a clinical trial for VR315, a generic asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) treatment. This moves the Chippenham-based company a step closer to receiving a multi-million pound milestone payment.
Contract researcher Venn Life Sciences (VENN:AIM) gains 6% to 22.2p on revenue for the 12 months to the end of 2015 being at least double the €4.9 million recorded in 2014 thanks to winning new contracts. Non-executive chairman David Evans is stepping down from the board to reduce his number of corporate roles.
Photobooth and laundry machine operator Photo-Me (PHTM) surges 6% to 158p after reporting a 90% rise in sales in Japan as a result of the country's introduction of mandatory photo ID cards. It says if this continues for the remaining four months of the financial year then its results will be materially ahead of market expectations.
Fantasy miniatures maker Games Workshop (GAW) plunges 9.2% to 540p after saying pre-tax profit for the year to 29 May is unlikely to exceed £16 million. The company's return on capital, which it calls a key measure of performance, fell from 38% in November 2014 to 36% in November 2015 while reported sales were down 2.2% in the first half of the year.