Chocolatier Thorntons (THT) melts 15.75% to 119.63p as investors lock in gains following a mixed third quarter trading statement. The market is reading the announcement as a profit warning but that's not what Thorntons has said. Sales over the 15 weeks to 26 April, including Easter, fell 7.6%, reflecting early spring deliveries to supermarkets and the impact of store closures. Crucially, Easter was a strong sales period and Thorntons still expects to deliver annual profits in line with forecasts. The stock is a running Shares Play of the Week.
Over-50s insurance-to-travel provider Saga has confirmed plans to float on the stockmarket, potentially valued at $3.7 billion. We've rounded up all the essential details including news of free shares for customers and staff in this article.
Onshore Nigerian oil play Heritage Oil (HOIL) has received a £924 million takeover offer from investment vehicle Al Mirqab Capital (run by the former head of Qatar's sovereign wealth fund). The bid is pitched at a 25% premium to last night's closing price and Westhouse Securities comments: 'We believe that this offer highlights the huge challenges and uncertainties involved in operating onshore in Nigeria and potential market volatility that will be caused by ongoing security issues with infrastructure leading to significant potential production delays.'
High street fashion-to-homewares star Next (NXT) rises 0.9% to £65.45 as it guides full-year profit forecasts higher and announces yet another 50p special dividend. In an upbeat first quarter trading update, Next reports an 8.8% rise in retail revenues and NEXT Directory sales 13.7% ahead over a strong opening thirteen weeks of the new financial year
As foreshadowed by Shares, recovering bakery retailer and running Play of the Week Greggs (GRG) gains 13.5p (2.6%) at 531p on news of a positive start to 2014. Like-for-like sales grew 3.7% over the 17 weeks to 26 April and given lower-than-expected input cost inflation, analysts are confident enough to upgrade annual profit forecasts again.
Having been the temporary head of Domino's Pizza (DOM) since January, former Halfords (HFD) boss David Wild gets the chief executive officer's job on a permanent basis. Halfords struggled under his leadership with nine profit warnings in two years. Domino's nudges ahead 0.2% to 514p.
Ladbrokes (LAD) rises 3.2% to 148.05p as investors are relieved that the bookmaker's first quarter operating profit is consistent with full-year guidance issued in February. Investors also no doubt like the news that it remains committed to paying at least an 8.9p per share dividend this year. We questioned Ladbrokes' ability to sustain this level of dividend in a recent Shares article.
UK and Norway oil explorer Faroe Petroleum (FPM:AIM) gains 1.9% to 145.1p as it acquires gas assets in the southern North Sea from Tullow Oil (TLW) (itself up 2.9% to 890.4p). The deal involves Faroe paying up to $75.6 million to gain a 60% interest in the Ketch field and 53.1% stake in the Schooner field and is expected to lift 2014 output from the guided 4,000-6,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) to 7,000-10,000 boepd. Chief executive Graham Stewart discussed Faroe's acquisitive strategy with Shares in an article published earlier this month.
Superfast connectivity cabling supplier Volex (VLX) jumps close on 10% to 105.75p. Investors are impressed by promising new lines of revenue through its partnership with Chinese electronics manufacturer Xiaomi.
A surprise fall in core revenues in the first quarter puts the pressure on chipmaker CSR (CSR). The stock falls 5.4% to 607p as core income declines 11% on one-off voice and music revenue from China last year.
Mobile enterprice software supplier Globo (GBO:AIM) rallies 13% to 52.5p with the markets impressed by strong growth in full-year results. Revenues and EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) both rise by 50% or more.
Car dealership giant Pendragon (PDG) speeds 9.2% higher to 31.13p on news annual profits will motor in 'comfortably' ahead of expectations. CEO Trevor Finn says improved profits momentum continued into the first quarter, boosted by improving new car sale profits and a strong performance in web-based used car sales.
Specialty chemicals outfit Hardide (HDD:AIM) rises 7.9% to 1.7p saying interim results due at the end of May will meet management expectations and flags improving trading conditions with a recovery in sales.
Superglass (SPGH:AIM) falls 3.5% after the Stirling-based manufacturer of mineral wool products for the construction industry revealed a 17% fall in revenues to £11.4 million in the six months to the end of February. A 7% rise on second half 2013 revenues failed to pique investor interest.