UK shares are closing in on a two-month high in early trading, rising for the third-straight day, as investor optimism dominates as US markets re-open after a long weekend break. The FTSE 100 is trading is around 20 points higher at 6,845.
FTSE 100 engineer Weir (WEIR) heads the blue chip leaderboard with a 3.6% advance to £27.34 after a big upgrade from analysts at Credit Suisse. The investment bank lifts its recommendation from neutral to outperform and hikes its price target from £25.40 to £30.60.
Record final results from house builder Redrow (RDW) fail to get investors excited, the stock rising just 1.4% to 285p, despite posting a 91% hike in pre-tax profit. Net debt close on doubles to £172.6 million as the company continues to invest heavily in its landbank and order book, possibly among the market's concerns.
Shares in onshore UK oil plays Egdon Resources (EDR:AIM), Europa Oil & Gas (EOG:AIM) and Union Jack Oil (UJO:AIM) rise 7.2% to 24.65p, 8.8% to 8.02p and 25.8% to 0.38p respectively on positive initial results from their combined efforts on the Wressle well. Located near Scunthorpe the well encountered potential hydrocarbon pay of more 30 metres thickness over three separate intervals – flow testing should reveal if it is a commercial prospect.
Broadcast and surveillance kit supplier Vislink (VLK:AIM) sees its shares hammered 14% lower to 44p as a double-digit organic revenues crash sparks widespread investor selling. Part of the problem has come from its Pebble Beach acquisition, prompting the company to finally ditch its long-mooted £80 million turnover target.
Insurance claims outsourcer Quindell (QPP:AIM) rallies more than 6% to 179.75p as it reverses out of a joint venture with the RAC because 'it is not considered the best use of capital for either party.' This should relieve Quindell of a cash flow burden to supply in-car kit to the JV. The pair's five-year telematics agreement is unaffected.
Supplier of building and precision engineering products Alumasc (ALU) surges 4.9% higher after full year results showed the group's best profit performance for five years. Reported pre-tax profit comes in at £5.1 million compared to the previous year's £2.8 million.
Pineapples, oranges and potatoes distributor Total Produce (TOT:AIM) sours 0.5p to 79p as interims reveal a 4.6% fall in taxable profits, albeit against tough prior year comparatives. During the half, the company encountered lower average prices and unhelpful currency moves, though the good news is the dividend rises 5% to 0.64 cent and Total Produce is sticking with its full-year earnings per share guidance.
Textile services provider Johnson Service (JSG) is up 3.7% at 62.5p as it reports solid results for the six months ending June 30. Andrew Gibb, analyst at Investec Securities, says Johnson, which has a market cap of £186 million, is now on track to beat market expectations for the full year.
Smart Metering Systems (SMS) impresses the market with results for the six months to June. Revenue increased 44% and earnings per share (EPS) rose 23% to 4.02p. Its shares are trading up 2.6% at 390p.
Also in the sector, coal mining and trading group Hargreaves Services (HSP) continues its slide from Monday, trading down more than 6% at 670p in early trade. Yesterday it announced the sale of its Imperial Tankers unit for £26.9 million.