A decent set of half-year numbers helps to push up leisure giant Whitbread (WTB) by 2% to £34.39. We're slightly surprised by the market reaction given that there's nothing to warrant earnings upgrades by analysts and there's a growing number of 'sell' ratings on the stock. Yet Whitbread continues to deliver a robust performance. Deutsche Bank comments: 'The longer-term story remains intact, with the self-help and organic growth story providing shareholders with a strong compounding investment over the medium term.'
Health, hygiene and home products powerhouse Reckitt Benckiser (RB.) rises 5.2% to £47.32 on news it is to undertake a strategic review of its pharmaceuticals business, suggesting a sale is on the cards. We look at possible valuations in this news analysis.
Industrial chain and gear box maker Renold (RNO) gains 9.3% to 44.25p despite reporting a 2.3% fall in revenues and 0.2% drop in order intake for the six months to 30 September. We explain why investors have reacted positively in this news analysis.
The market likes a quarterly update from BHP Billiton (BLT), sending the shares up 2.9% to £19.28. The diversified miner raises its iron ore production guidance by 5 million tonnes to 212 million tonnes. Good news from its petroleum division offsets weakness in copper production. We featured BHP as our key pick for the mining sector a fortnight ago in our cover story on emerging investment themes.
UK chip designs champ ARM (ARM) posts another strong quarter, beating the best guesses of analysts. Third quarter revenues rose 8.5% quarter-on-quarter and 25.8% year-on-year to $287 million buoyed by very strong 52.4% licensing income. But the market sees disappointment at the royalty rate, where chip prices dipped from $0.05 to $0.049, and that's top-sliced 2% off the shares to £10.16, still 27.5% up on Shares' July Play of the Week.
Automotive and aerospace components maker GKN (GKN) gains 1.9% to 369.5p on an in-line trading update, clawing back yesterday's losses. Sales totalled £1.9 billion in the three months to 30 September up 16% year-on-year with pre-tax profit up 34% to £131 million. Cantor Fitzgerald comments: 'The transition to a more balanced aerospace/auto group continues but we feel that auto strength has the definite potential to surprise on the upside through Q4 and into 2014.'
With all the utility talk around energy prices it looks interesting timing for Guy Hands' Terra Firma investment vehicle to moot a possible £1 billion IPO for wind energy unit Infinis Energy, apparently the UK's third-biggest renewable power producer. We'll look at this in more detail soon but it does look rather opportunistic just as the government starts talking down wind investment in favour of a renewed nuclear push.
Cineworld (CINE) retreats 0.5% to 387p despite a decent third quarter trading update. The market is probably worried about tough comparative numbers in the fourth quarter, even though this has long been flagged as a risk.
Kenmare Resources (KMR) falls a further 4.4% to 21.27p following yesterday's news about a fire at its mineral sands project in Mozambique. The company has been beset by setbacks this year including the need to raise cash earlier this month following weaker commodity prices, lower shipments and reduced production. Investors stumped up £66.3 million through buying shares at 26.5p on 11 October. They'll be fuming at the share price performance since the fundraise.
The old weather's to blame excuse is rolled out by Petropavlovsk (POG). Its latest quarterly production numbers are lower than expected, sending the shares down 3.1% to 70.5p. The gold miner blames rain.
The decision to suspend operations at its hotel division and the discovery of financial irregularities sends Clear Leisure (CLP:AIM) down 43.1% to 4.65p. This comes four days after well-known leisure investor Luke Johnson quit as chairman. We identified numerous risks earlier this year after meeting Clear Leisure's management team and have long felt there was bad news in the making with this stock.
US onshore oil and gas play Magnolia Petroleum (MAGP:AIM) surges 5.5% to 2.64p on plans to invest nearly $1 million in four new wells. The small cap has secured a new $5 million credit facility which could take it a long way towards operating on a self-funding basis.
Microcap IT supplier Triad (TRD) leaps 32% to 16.5p despite company newsflow silence. Interestingly, the share price jumped significantly in both June and August in similar circumstances, prompting management to issue the usual denials of why, but now on a hat trick it would seem that something is going on behind the scenes. Just after midday, we finally get a response from the company. Surprise, surprise, the company shrugs its shoulders as to why the shares are moving.
Infection control technology company PuriCore (PURI) rises 3.3% to 46.5p as the market welcomes the launch of its new animal healthcare product. Wound cleanser NovaZo will target a market forecast to be worth $21 billion globally by 2016.