On a day in which the FTSE 100 remains in the red, down 47 points to 6557.2 following falls overnight on Wall Street and in Asia, TUI Travel (TT.) tumbles the best part of 5% to 382.1p. Investors book profits after a strong share price run despite the £4.49 billion cap posting a cheery third quarter trading statement in which it flags strong demand in the UK and Nordics and growing demand for its unique holidays.
Operating profits rose 18% to £87 million in the quarter ended 30 June and with cost cutting going to plan, chief executive Peter Long is very confident of delivering underlying annual operating profits growth of at least 10%. As well as brisk high-season summer trade, Long says winter bookings for 2013/14 have begun strongly for the Crawley-based business. Highlighting the strength and resilience of the business model, Numis Securities upgrades its price target from 375p to 400p. However Panmure Gordon has a 315p price target for TUI and sticks with its 'hold' rating 'based upon the stock trading at a premium to Thomas Cook (TCG), whilst holding less earnings growth potential, in our view.'
Life insurer Old Mutual (OML) improves 5.3% to 202.7p after increasing its interim dividend 20% to 2.1p per share, a payout underpinned by its strong capital position. During the half ended 30 June, operating profits sparked up 14% to more than £800 million and funds under management grew 9% to £289.3 billion, with chief executive Julian Roberts highlighting a strong performance from emerging markets as well as the £9.4 billion cap's US asset management business.
Elsewhere, Sheilas' Wheels group esure (ESUR) regains ground, accelerating 9p higher to 255p following hefty losses yesterday prompted by Tuesday's maiden results as a listed company which disappointed the market. Read our story from yesterday here.
Healthcare services provider United Drug (UDG) sheds 5.6% of its value to trade at 337.5p despite confirming profits for the nine months to July were ahead year-on-year before acquisition and restructuring costs. Investor skittishness towards the £856 million cap reflects the expected negative currency impact on earnings per share (EPS), which could constrain growth to 1% instead of the 5%-to-8% rate forecast by consensus.
Lower down the market cap ranks, pre-clinical contract research company Cyprotex (CRX:AIM) shoots up 14.8% to 6.7p after turning a £222,000 loss into £271,000 pre-tax profits for the half to 30 June. This was on the back of a 22.3% jump in revenues to almost £4.6 million driven by strong demand from customers in Europe and North America. Buoyed by 'the most promising trading start to the financial year' in the company's history, management anticipates meeting market expectations this year. Taxable profits are forecast to reach £700,000, three-and-a-half times the £200,000 achieved in 2012. A recent contract win with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which you can can read about here, should prove helpful.
Marketing communications agency Chime Communications (CHW) jumps 2.1% to 298p. Previewing the 28 August interims Numis Securities analyst Paul Richards flags strong second-quarter numbers from larger peers Publicis (PUB:PA), Omnicom (OMC:NYSE) and Interpublic (IPG:NYSE).
Mobile payments play Bango (BGO:AIM) has just 'gone live' with its Mozilla Firefox app store, another potentially meaningful revenue stream in future. The shares rise 2% to 184p, although investors remain typically befuddled as to detail on potential future income, a point Shares made in March's interview with CEO Ray Anderson.
Data centres are an increasingly long-term growth opportunity yet Kuala Lumpar-based CSF Group (CSFG:AIM) continues to muck it up. It plunged £6.4 million into the red last year after getting into a kerfuffle with a pair of customers that sparked an £8 million bad debt. Investors ditch the stock leading to a 5% slump to 9.88p marking a 65% 2013 slump, or seeing 85% of its value wiped out in less than three years.
Microcap eCommerce platform specialist @UK (ATUK:AIM) continues to see heavy investor demand after yesterday's upbeat trading statement. The shares leap another 23%, adding to yesterday's 17% jump, hitting 16p. Improving cash generation also de-risks the chances of a dilutive cash call any time soon.