UK shares continue their festive rally as global markets look to the US Fed's expected interest rate hike at 7pm tonight. The benchmark FTSE 100 index rises 40-odd points to 6,057, while European bourses are also largely on the up, supported by PMI data.
In corporate news, Superdry brand-owner SuperGroup (SGP) is bid 11.4% higher to £16.89 as interims smash market expectations, prompting full-year profit upgrades. Cash-generative SuperGroup's taxable profits surged almost 55% higher to £19.3 million in the half, the retailer announces a maiden dividend of 6.2p and appears confident ahead of the peak Christmas period.
Academic publishing group Pearson (PSON) is the top FTSE 100 performer - up 4.3% to 737.5p - as Exane BNP Paribas upgrades the stock from ‘neutral’ to ‘outperform’ arguing risks of further earnings pressure are priced in.
Merged retail titan Dixons Carphone (DC.) is marked up 8.8p to 485.5p on better-than-expected interims, confirming market share gains across the electrical and mobile markets. Though there's no comment on current trading, canny CEO Sebastian James highlights a strong Black Friday, giving a great start to Christmas trade, a possibility Shares flagged in our recent Festive Winners cover story.
Thor Mining (THR:AIM) soars by 67% to 0.04p after signing an option agreement to sell its gold assets for A$3.5 million (£1.68 million). That is far greater than the £835,900 million value of the business before the announcement was made.
Shale gas play IGas Energy (IGAS:AIM) gains 35.4% to 22p as a report published 15 December by the industry-backed Task Force on Shale Gas argues fracking is safe relative to comparable industries and says the activity should go ahead as soon as possible.
Women's value fashion retailer Bonmarche (BON:AIM) takes a battering, sold down 28.6% to 212.5p on a full-year profit warning and CEO Beth Butterwick's surprise departure. Sales have disappointed since Black Friday, not helped by mild weather conditions, while Butterwick is decamping to Karen Millen after four years in the hot seat.
The UK’s second largest drug-maker by market cap AstraZeneca (AZN) rises 1.2% to £44.40 on agreeing to buy Takeda Pharmaceutical’s respiratory business for $575 million. The terms include the only approved oral PDE4 inhibitor to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Pizza delivery firm Domino's Pizza (DOM) rises 3.3% to £10.01 on news its German operation has formed a joint venture which will acquire the master franchise rights for the Domino's brand in Germany and acquire 15 Domino's stores for £18.2 million, payable in six instalments.
The joint venture, in which Domino's Pizza will take a 33% equity stake, is buying German pizza delivery operator Joey's Pizza for £32.8 million, which could rise to £56 million depending on future earnings. Shares' wonders if this could cap near-term growth in today's exclusive web story.
Barbados hotel operator Elegant Hotels (EHG:AIM) gains 3% to 115.5p on a 21% rise in adjusted pre-tax profit to $16.1 million in the year to 30 September, with revenue 4.3% higher at $60.1 million. Occupancy remained relatively stable at 68% but the strong growth in tourist numbers enabled it to lift average daily rates by 5.7% to $373. The group says bookings for the busy winter period are in line with expectations.