The technology sector has taken a big hit with several profit warnings. Leading the pack is language translation specialist SDL (SDL) which crashed 34% to 256p after saying that its earnings would be much less than previously expected. The new profits steer of £15 million to £20 million halves previous hopes, sparking some City watchers to ponder if there are deeper problems under SDL's skin.
Hi-spec cameras and microscopes kit developer Andor Technology (AND:AIM) is back in the doghouse as hopes for a recovery in orders failed to arrive. The Belfast-based technology specialist collapsed nearly 19% to 294.25p. We'll have more on this news on the website later.
Whitbread (WTB) has exceeded the £30 mark for the first time after a bullish trading update. The stock jumped 3.1% to £30.15 as the leisure giant reported a 3.1% rise in like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to 20 May. As always, Costa coffee is the star performer with an 8% rise in like-for-like sales. Read our story on why some analysts don't share the market's enthusiasm.
UK mobile giant Vodafone (VOD) faces the prospects of an expensive bidding war to get its hands on Germany's number one cable group, Kabel Deutschland. US rival Liberty Global (LBTYA:NDQ), buyer of Britain's Virgin Media, has thrown its hat into the ring with an offer reckoned to be worth over €7 billion. Despite the threat, Vodafone shares stayed flat at 184p.
Emergency power provider Aggreko (AGK) dipped 1.4% to £17.66 after analysts failed to find any reason in today's trading update to upgrade earnings forecasts, the historical driver for the share price.
Easyjet (EZJ) rose 3.5% to £12.96 after signing a deal to buy 35 Airbus A320 aircraft and 100 new-generation A320neo jets. While the list price of the deal has been put at $11.5 billion (£7.4 billion), the low-cost carrier maintained that the new generation aircraft had been 'sourced at highly attractive prices and at a greater percentage discount to list price than the company’s existing Airbus contract.'
Iron ore producer African Minerals (AMI:AIM) jumped 12.8% to 244.5p after saying it had hit the targeted 20 million tonnes per year export run rate at operations in Sierra Leone. Investment bank Jefferies reckons this is the catalyst for a stock re-rating. It has a 400p price target.
Football pools specialist Sportech (SPO) continued its descent after Playtech (PTEC) sold a 5% stake in the business, halving its position in the stock. Sportech fell 6.2% to 80p, adding to earlier declines this month as the taxman managed to take a VAT repayment claim back to the courts.
St Ives (SIV) retreated 5.4% to 141p as investors didn't like news of a 4% drop in sales for the 17 weeks to £4.6 million. The print business operates in a difficult market, yet there are reasons to stay positive on the stock. Its marketing services arm is showing growth in revenue and operating profit and it is this part of the business that has been driving the share price. Analysts reckon St Ives' re-rating will continue onwards.
Acquisitive media rights business One Media (OMIP) advanced 4.1% to 9.6p on interim results which also included news of a new catalogue purchase. The company declared a 0.078p half-year dividend payment.
News of strong first-half trading at stockbroker Share (SHRE) prompted a 4.4% bump to 24p. The company also announced a board reshuffle with founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Gavin Oldham to become the executive chairman in January when chairman Martin Jacomb steps back. Finance director and chief operating officer Richard Stone will step up to the CEO role.
Healthcare systems microcap Ultrasis (ULT:AIM) rallied 27% to 0.69p as investors react late to yesterday's accreditation breakthrough. Its depression/addiction 'Beating The Blues' programme received US healthcare clearance for inclusion in the official registry for cognitive behavioural therapy programmes.
Housebuilder Mar City (MAR:AIM) dived 22% to 8.88p despite news that it has signed contracts to build residential properties in Birmingham, Coventry and Leicester. The contacts are worth £5.8 million combined and are scheduled to complete by the end of next year. The company’s decline came a day after it jumped 41% on no official news to the stockmarket, begging the question, did someone know about the contracts before the market was told?