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Building services group Northern Bear rockets on bullish full-year trading update

Some of the main news-driven risers and fallers in London on Wednesday afternoon ...
teddy bear on a rocket
Boss Steve Roberts said he was “delighted” with last year’s performance

Northern Bear Plc (LON:NTBR) shares headed north today after the building services group revealed in a trading update that business has been better-than-expected in the second half of its financial year.

The AIM-quoted said it managed the outperformance even with the impact from the Beast from the East earlier this year, which will have undoubtedly delayed a lot of building work.

Northern acquired commercial interiors firm H Peel & Sons last summer, which enjoyed a positive first nine months or so.

Given the strong showing, Northern said full-year revenues and profits for the 12 months ended March 31 2018 will be ahead of last year’s figures. It is also optimistic that the high number of committed orders stands it in good stead for the year ahead, too.

Shareholders can look forward to a better dividend pay-out this year as well on the back of the solid year. The stock is up 14.9% to 80.4p in late afternoon trade.

Connect Group slumps on horror trading update

Connect Group PLC (LON:CNCT) shares almost halved after the distribution group issued what we’re fairly sure is this year’s first World Cup-related profit warning.

The company “materially reduced” its full-year profit forecasts due to disappointing sales of World Cup-related products in its Smith News division, as well as a “material fall” in volumes and higher costs in its Tuffnells business.

Connect added that as a result of the “extremely disappointing” second half performance so far, the full-year dividend will “at a minimum be substantially reduced”.

On the back of that horror show, chief executive Mark Cashmore and chief financial officer David Bauernfeind are both stepping down. Shares are down 45% to 28.6p.

Bank of America dials in on Talktalk

Talktalk Telecom Group PLC (LON:TALK) is one of the top risers on the FTSE 250 today after Bank of America Merrill Lynch double upgraded it to ‘buy’ from ‘underperform’ and increased the price target to 190p from 140p.

Analysts at heavyweight US investment bank said although TalkTalk has historically overpromised and under-delivered, they believe new management and their credible simplification strategy can reverse that cycle.

“For the first time in four years, we see guidance and consensus as achievable, ending the cycle of earnings downgrades,” read a note to clients. Talktalk shares are up 7.7% to 126.7p.

Just Eat plunges on Deliveroo’s aggressive expansion plans

Just Eat PLC (LON:JE.) was the biggest blue-chip faller on reports that its major UK rival, Deliveroo, is to step its expansion.

The online takeaway food marketplace dropped 7.8% at the bell to 785p, shaken by the news that Deliveroo intends to add 5,000 UK restaurants to its platform by the end of the year.

Importantly, Deliveroo will also allow those restaurants to keep their own drivers, meaning, in some instances, it will only supply the software needed to match the buyer and seller.

“[That’s] the model used by Just Eat, and means Deliveroo’s army of mopeds is potentially set to mount a significant challenge to the FTSE 100 firm’s grip on the food delivery sector,” wrote Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.

Upland raises £3mln without discounting shares

Upland Resources shares headed, well, up in early deals after the upstream oil and gas firm managed to get away a sizeable placing without having to discount its shares.

The company is raising £3mln – a lot of money for a company with a market cap of just £12mln – by selling 120mln new shares at 2.5p, the same as Tuesday’s price.

Upland has raised the money to fund the spudding of the Wick well, offshore north-east Scotland, while it also expects to make “good progress” with its opportunities in Malaysia and North Africa.

Shares are up 18.4% to 2.96p early on Wednesday.

Haydale bemoans issues with contract timing

Struggling this morning was Haydale Graphene Industries PLC (LON:HAYD).

The advanced materials maker warned investors that revenues and losses would be below expectations this year due to timing issues with a number of contracts.

Haydale also announced that its current chief executive, Ray Gibbs, is to step down and move into a business development role once a successor is found. Shares dipped 17% to 80.1p.


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