Amid all the Brexit drama and the high profile bid action around London Stock Exchange (LSEG) it would be easy to miss some of the other significant recent announcements.

Supermarket Morrisons (MRW) impressed the market, managing a near 5% gain above the 200p mark, as it unveiled a big bump in its first half dividend and announced an extension to its wholesale supply partnership with online giant Amazon (12 Sep).

For the first half of 2019 statutory pre-tax profit was up 48.5% to £202m despite total revenue barely moving at all. The flat revenue reflected tough comparatives from the hot summer in 2018 which was also graced by a football World Cup.

OIL DISCOVERY

Also in investors’ good books was oil and gas firm Tullow Oil (TLW) which announced a second discovery in a little over a month offshore Guyana.

The success with the Joe-1 well (16 Sep) reinforced the impression that the company is regaining its exploration credentials.

Historically the company made its way from small cap status all the way to the FTSE 100 off the back of large discoveries in Africa. Despite the good news the shares still trade well south of peak levels above £15 at the current 235p.

The discovery news was also a boon to its small cap partner Eco Atlantic Oil & Gas (ECO:AIM) which traded in sight of all-time highs at 177p.

On 13 September pubs operator JD Wetherspoon (JDW) reported strong like-for-like revenue growth of 6.8% in the year to 28 July 2019 but saw operating profit squeezed by higher costs.

The mixed nature of this announcement ultimately resulted in the shares trading roughly flat at around the £15.50 mark.

COST SAVING BOOST

Job cuts are often received positively by shareholders given the positive implications for profitability, at least in the short term, and this was the case at tobacco stock British American Tobacco (BATS) on 12 September.

The company announced it would lay off 2,300 people, mainly in middle management, as part of plans to shake up the business announced by new chief executive Jack Bowles.

FTSE 350 MOVERS OVER THE PAST WEEK
BEST PERFORMERS
STOCK SHARE PRICE RISE/FALL REASON
Cairn Energy 9.4% Feel-good factor from positive first half results plus oil price
Premier Oil 7.8% Higher oil prices
Sophos 7.3% Positive investor sentiment
WORST PERFORMERS
STOCK SHARE PRICE RISE/FALL REASON
Sirius Minerals -54.0% Puts key potash project on hold, pulls financing
Intu Properites -9.0% Shares slip back after surging on takeover speculation
Centamin -7.6% Says full year production will be at lower end of expectations
Source: Shares, SharePad

 

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Issue Date: 18 Sep 2019