Just as the market thought Ladbrokes (LAD) was the only weak player in the gambling sector, a trading update from William Hill (WMH) shows weakness elsewhere in the industry. The bookie warns that third quarter operating profit is £20 million below its expectations and there's no guarantee it can make up the shortfall before the year end. That sends the share price down 0.5% to 409.15p. Given the disappointing three-month period, it is interesting to see the stock only fall by a small amount, suggesting that the market has faith in William Hill to uphold its stellar reputation of thriving in the leisure industry. We continue to rate the stock highly, as per our recent sector report.
Today's shake up in the Falklands – where Falkland Oil & Gas (FOGL:AIM) is down 5.6% to 26.9p; Desire Petroleum (DES:AIM) up 29.4% to 15.9p; Premier Oil (PMO) unchanged at 332.1p; and Rockhopper Exploration (RKH:AIM) ahead 1.6% to 130p – is discussed in more detail here.
Oil major BP (BP.) slicks up 0.9% to 436.2p as a US appeals court halts some compensation payments associated with the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The company had initially expected these payments to total £4.9 billion but saw the figure pushed higher by what it describes as 'fictitious' claims. It says the ruling affirms its stance that claimants should not be paid for 'non-existent' losses.
Panmure Gordon has published its 'back of the envelope' thoughts on Royal Mail, saying it is worth £3.7 billion to £4.5 billion, more than £1 billion higher than the official indicated range when the group floats next week (11 Oct).
Insurer Aviva (AV.) rises 2.5% to 417.6p as the sale of its US life and annuity business completes for £1.7 billion. The deal strengthens Aviva’s cashflows, following a series of problems which led to its CEO stepping down and a dividend cut.
Printhead technology developer Xaar (XAR) spells out what it sees as a 'significant market' in direct print-to-packaging in the wake of recent trade shows. Customers have been showing off trial kit and designs printed straight onto glass and metal. It'll take a while to crank up meaningful revenues and investors seem to be shrugging it off, the shares flat at 795.5p, but the scope for future revenues is large.
Profit takers have picked an odd time to top slice cloud procurement developer @UK (ATUK:AIM) given today's launch of its cloudBuy platform with Visa in Asia-Pacific. The shares drift 1p to 43p despite this promising development, although we must remember the stock has jumped from less than 10p in less than two months.
Fast-growing mobile applications developer Mobile Streams (MOS:AIM) jumps over 11% to 75p, a strange reaction to news that founder and chief executive officer Simon Buckingham has flogged nearly £440,000 of stock for 'personal reasons'. Perhaps investors are belated processing the undoubted progress last year and yesterday's full-year results showing a 145% revenue jump, although we think it remains worth flagging that over £2 million of its £2.8 million net cash is locked up in Argentina, with not chance of repatriation.
Housebuilder Inland Homes (INL: AIM) rises 0.9% to 40.7p on a four-fold increase in the dividend to 0.27p. This was funded by a pre-tax profit jump to £5.2 million in the year to July, from £1.1 million in 2012, and there's £12.1 million cash. Its pipeline remains strong with some 2,300 plots in its land bank with demand maintained by government initiatives.
Cancer drug company ValiRx (VAL: AIM) jumps 23% to 0.4p as management are close to recording results from its lead product. It has filled a Phase IB/dose escalation study, which would see its lead product tested in prostate cancer sufferers.