Market Movers, including Dixons Retail, Home Retail, ASOS, Mothercare, Afferro Mining, Nyota Minerals, Lansdowne Oil & Gas, Magnolia PetroleumJanuary 17 2013, 8:47am
The battle of the retailers was ignited once again today, with a number of High Street stalwarts shedding light on their festive fortunes or misfortunes.
And the outlook was a little bit brighter after what has generally been a tough start to the New Year for retailers that has already seen Jessops, HMV and now Blockbuster go under.
Currys and PC World owner Dixons Retail (LON:DXNS) hailed strong sales over Christmas, up 7% from 2011 on a like-for-like basis.
The electronics retailer said profits would be in line with market expectations as it played down fears of a profit warning.
Dixons shares rose 1.6% in early deals.
Home Retail (LON:HOME) cited strong demand for tablets at Argos for its 2.7% rise in underlying sales over Christmas, which helped offset a weaker performance by homewares and jewellery.
The company also revealed that like-for-likes at DIY store Homebase, its other chain, fell 3.9% over the festive season.
In spite of this, the company has raised its profit forecasts and now believes the figure will be around £83mln, around £10mln ahead of market expectations.
The news saw shares shoot up in early play, trading around 11% higher at 135p each.
Online retailer ASOS (LON:ASC) joined the morning’s risers as it unveiled an equally healthy set of numbers.
Sales of its clothes grew 41% to £78mln in December as it reaffirmed its desire to become the number one online fashion destination for twenty-somethings around the world.
Christmas was not so fruitful for Mothercare (LON:MTC).
The retailer, which sells products such as prams and baby clothes, saw sales fall 7.4% in its third quarter, hurt by a poor showing by its UK business, sales at which were down 6% on an underlying basis.
On AIM, Afferro Mining (LON:AFF) lifted 2% after confirming that Indian steel giant Jindal Steel and Power is among the junior miner’s potential suitors.
Afferro confirmed last month that it had received bid approaches, which has helped hoist the share price.
Prior to this latest announcement AIM-listed International Mining and Infrastructure Corporation (LON:IMIC) was the only company to have been linked formally with a possible offer.
Afferro confirmed today it remains in “active discussions with all potential offerers”.
Nyota Minerals’ (LON:NYO) Tulu Kapi gold project in Ethiopia has taken another step forward after the country's mining ministry confirmed its definitive feasibility study (DFS) met the requirements for a mining licence.
Nyota added that after talks with the ministry over the fiscal and legal aspects of the Tulu Kapi plans, both parties believe that they are close to finalising the terms for the issuance of a mining licence.
Lansdowne Oil & Gas’s (LON:LOGP) projects in the Celtic Sea have been substantially de-risked as it continues to progress farm-out talks with interested parties.
This morning the company reported on a technical study, based on the analysis of seismic inversion data. It said the technical work has highlighted positive fluid anomalies which indicate the likely presence of gas in the Midleton, SE Rosscarberry and Galley Head accumulation.
Magnolia Petroleum (LON:MAGP) meanwhile lost 7% on the news it relinquish its 25% interest in the Prucha 1-23 MH well targeting the Oklahoma’s Mississippi Lime formation.
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