Less than 24 hours since the FTSE 100 high a record high, the market is awash with profit warnings. AO World, Driver and Coms all see their share prices slump on bad earnings news. But they are not big enough to trouble the blue chip index with the FTSE 100 holding steady at 6,939 – a drop of only 10 points today.
AO World (AO.) crashes 41.3% to 165p after saying that it has struggled to achieve expected sales growth levels so far this calendar year. Bizarrely it implies publicity in the lead up to last year's IPO has made the year-on-year growth rates difficult to beat. Read our news analysis of today's events here.
A boardroom battle and major profit warning triggers a 60% slump in IT and telecoms minnow Coms (COMS:AIM) to 0.93p. It says restructuring efforts have helped push up revenue but it has failed to bring down costs so gross margins are being squeezed. Chief executive officer Dave Breith has called a shareholder meeting to remove chairman Frank Beechinor and non-exec Diana Dyer Barlett as directors.
North Sea oil firm Ithaca Energy (IAE:AIM) announces further delays to its Greater Stella Area (GSA) development with first crude not expected until the second quarter of 2016. Back in 2011 the company had expected to achieve this milestone in the second half of 2013 and until today guidance was for a mid-2015 start date. Predictably the market is not impressed with the shares marked down 24.6% to 49.9p. Shares' oil reporter Tom Sieber takes a closer look at the news in this story.
Bombed out oil explorer San Leon Energy (SLE:AIM) spikes 73.7% to 2.05p as it announces its first ever commercial gas discovery. The Rawicz-12 appraisal well in south west Poland flowed gas at an increasing rate which by 16 February had reached up to 4.1 million cubic feet per day.
Whitbread (WTB) gains 2% to £52.15 on a 6.5% rise in like-for-like sales in the 50 weeks to 12 February. The recovery in the UK regional hotel market drives a 9.1% increase in like-for-like sales at Premier Inn where occupancy has reached a record 81.3%. Like-for-like sales at Costa are up by 6% while the restaurant division sees a more muted 0.6% growth.
Professional information and training provider and one of Shares' picks of the year, Wilmington (WIL) pleases with interim results. The shares rise 2.3% to 222p as it reveals numbers ahead of expectations. Revenues are up an underlying 8% to £46.1 million and adjusted pre-tax profits advance 14% to £8.1 million with the management confirming trading is in-line for the year to June.
Wealth manager St James’s Place (STJ) advances 3.7% to 925.5p on generating £173.8 million cash in 2014, 24% more than it did a year earlier. Funds under management increased 17% to £52 billion, while it declared a 14.3p a share final dividend. This took its total dividend to 23.3p, a 46% annual rise.
Retail bank TSB (TSB) improves 1.2% to 264.5p on pre-tax profits edged 2.3% higher to £133.7 million in 2014. The bank, which now sells mortgages through intermediates, took 6.6% more cash on deposit to £24.6 billion as it opened 500,000 new accounts during the year, while lending increased 7.7% to £21.6 billion. For our latest views on TSB, read this story.
Infection control specialist Tristel (TSTL:AIM) gains 4.5% to 80p on pre-tax-profits rising 57% to £1.1 million in 2014 thanks to better international sales. The company is targeting further global expansion.
Chinese scooter manufacturer Vmoto (VMT:AIM) climbs 6% to 1.7p after reporting a 79% increase in revenue to $45.1 million for the 12 months to 31 December. The group sold over 76,000 units, a 21% increase on 2013, but earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation slip by 7.7% to $1.2 million.