Global markets continued to roar with optimism on Tuesday, with the FTSE 100 flying 120 points higher to 6,774.32 as UK investors returned from the long weekend in buying mood. News from the CBI of rising confidence in the UK service sector helped lift sentiment towards the leisure industry, with holiday operator TUI Travel (TT.) putting on 10p at 368.6p and Holiday Inn-owner InterContinental Hotels (IHG) adding 36p at £19.48.
Lower down the market cap ranks, investors appear willing to believe hi-tech cabling specialist Volex (VLX) can turn over a new leaf, the shares rising 8% to 99.75p on full year results that hold promise of a brighter future. The £57 million cap has slashed nearly 1,500 jobs as part of a cost drive since its pre-Christmas profits warning and upped investment in own-IP, while also admitting to being over-exposed to its biggest customer, Apple (AAPL:NDQ), when you read between the lines. New chief executive Christoph Eisenhardt replaces the resigning Ray Walsh, and City analysts remain largely cautious, albeit offering upside surprises if Volex can get itself in gear reasonably quickly.
IRN-BRU-maker A.G. Barr (BAG) fizzed 7p higher to 577p, as the company said it outperformed the sluggish UK soft drinks market during a weather-affected first quarter. Click here for our take on the story.
Pharma giant AstraZeneca (AZN) improved the best part of 3% to £35.28 after buying Omthera Pharmaceuticals in a deal worth up to $443 million to develop its cardiovascular business. The US fish oil-derived medicine specialist is one of new CEO Pascal Soriot’s bolt-on acquisitions designed to replace the £43 billion cap's off-patent treatments.
Medical technology company Angle (AGL:AIM) jumped 3.8% to 61.5p after agreeing a deal that will increase its manufacturing capacity. Cogent Technology will make Angle’s non-invasive cancer diagnostic Parsortix, an automated machine that identifies and counts circulating tumour cells in the blood.
Pawnbroker H&T (HAT:AIM) was up 2% in early trade at 230p just as N+1 Singer published its downwardly revised earnings forecast in the wake of Friday’s (24 May) profit alert. That the company rallied as the broker cut 18% off its 2013 pre-tax profit forecast might suggest to some the worst is already in the price.
Little LED developer Photonstar LED (PSL:AIM) put up an impressive 44% rise in 2012 revenues and is heading towards a 2013 profits breakthrough, but the shares fell 7.9% to 8.75p as the market fretted over construction industry order blockages. The company flags a $70 billion market to run at, and FinnCap analysts see another year of 40%-plus revenue growth to £12.5 million, implying a £1 million ebitda breakthrough.
Boiler efficiency kit supplier Sabien Technology (SNT:AIM) shot up close on 30% to 26.5p after bagging £1 million worth of orders. Contracts for its M2G technology are typically lumpy, and visibility remains as capped as always.
Shares in Russian fertiliser giant Acron (AKRN) slipped 0.38% to 4.09p after the £1.3 billion cap announced a 10% drop in first quarter revenue to RUB16.561 billion ($545 million). A fall-off in Chinese demand for complex fertilisers was blamed for a 54% year-on-year fall in net profit to RUB 2.358 billion ($78 million).
Elsewhere in the fertiliser world, PhosAgro (PHOR) shed 0.33% to 13.46p after the phosphate exporter revealed a 25% drop in operating profits to RUB5.7 billion ($186 million) despite a 12% year-on year increase in revenue. Soft commodity prices and delays in subsidy decisions inhibiting demand from India were blamed.
Shares in Chinese unconventional gas firm Leyshon Resources (LRL:AIM) gushed up 22.6% to 19p after it announced better-than-expected flow test results from its first well on the eastern fringe of China’s prolific Ordos gas basin.
US-based energy minnow Northcote Energy (NCT:AIM) was up 1.2% at 1.67p early doors after announcing a positive result from a fracture stimulation of its Big Hill #1 well in Oklahoma, although the shares settled back to 1.65p.