Proactiveinvestors United Kingdom Archer Daniels Midland https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk Proactiveinvestors United Kingdom Archer Daniels Midland RSS feed en Sun, 19 May 2019 16:17:13 +0100 http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Genera CMS action@proactiveinvestors.com (Proactiveinvestors) action@proactiveinvestors.com (Proactiveinvestors) <![CDATA[News - Tuesday's agenda: easyJet first-half numbers to fly in ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68882/tuesdays-agenda-easyjet-first-half-numbers-to-fly-in-80205.html EasyJet (LON:EZJ) sends out its first-half numbers tomorrow.

Trading specialist IG Group reckons the market is expecting revenue of £1.79bn and an adjusted net loss of £2mln for the airline.

The numbers follow a record profit for the low-cost carrier in 2014 as better customer service levels and low fuel costs helped out.

As it stands, out of 28 analyst recommendations, 21 are buys, four are holds, and three are sells.

The average target price is 1,969p which is nearly 10% above the current price.

easyJet hopes to save between £22mln-£70mln in fuel this financial year, but adverse currency movements could cost the company £20mln.

The market will also be looking to see if easyJet remains as upbeat as it was in its last trading update in March when it raised full year profit guidance. 

Since then the company has reported some good traffic figures for March, but investors have also seen a strike by French traffic controllers and a steady recovery in the oil price. 

News about the level of demand from business travellers and the company’s plans to add capacity will attract attention, as will any hints about the potential for special dividends in future.

Tuesday

Interims: easyJet (LON:EZJ), 

Finals: Verona Pharma (LON:VRP), Experian (LON:EXPN)

Trading statements: Just Retirement (LON:JRG), Hiscox (LON:HSX)

Economic data: UK CPI, UK RPI, US Housing stats, German ZEW Survey


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Mon, 11 May 2015 18:01:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68882/tuesdays-agenda-easyjet-first-half-numbers-to-fly-in-80205.html
<![CDATA[News - FTSE 100 finishes lower as election relief fades ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68881/ftse-100-finishes-lower-as-election-relief-fades-0000.html London’s FTSE 100 finished lower on Monday, retreating after Friday’s surge on the back of the UK election result.

The blue chip gauge surged 2.3% at the end of last week as the Conservatives swept to power.

But the benchmark share chart had run out of steam by this afternoon and eventually finished 16 points worse off at 7,029.

The more domestically focused FTSE 250 index was also lower, down 65 points to 17,870. 

Trading was cautious and dominated by central-bank decisions.

The Bank of England kept interest rates on hold at 0.5% and a cut in Chinese interest rates supporting commodities and mining shares.

Anglo American (LON:AAL) and Glencore (LON:GLEN) both finished the day 1% higher.

Royal Mail (LON:RMG) was the biggest riser, up 3.9% to  497p.

That was after a report said rival Dutch-owned delivery firm Whistl, formerly TNT, lost the funding of private equity backer LDC for the expansion of the business.

Pharma giant Hikma (LON:HIK) rose 2% to 2,056p  following an upgrade by Stifel. The broker hitched up its rating on the stock to ‘buy’ from ‘hold’.

Building materials group CRH (LON:CRH) was at the wrong end, with shares down 54p to 1,837p. 

Paper group Mondi (LON:MNDI), down 25p to 1,322p and wealth manager St James’s Place (LON:STJ) 2% lower at 940p, were also at the bottom of the FTSE 100.

Among the small caps, shares in Weatherly International (LON:WTI) began trading on AIM again today after a three month suspension.

Trading was halted in February due to operating problems at its copper mine in Tschudi, Namibia. Shares dropped 12.5% to 1.4p.

Another stock returning from suspension was Daniel Stewart (LON:DAN) which promptly eased 23% to 0.96p.

The shares were suspended at the beginning of May pending the appointment of a new nominated adviser, which this morning was revealed as Beaumont Cornish.

There was better news for Eland Oil & Gas (LON:ELA) which closed 10% higher at 67p after its 45% owned associate Elcrest received confirmation that it can become the operator of the OML 40 asset in Nigeria for at least ten years. 

Cloud-based video expert Forbidden Technologies (LON:FBT) said its platform Forscene is increasing its footprint in the sports production market .

It will be used as part of a three year agreement, beginning this year, to provide the platform to a major sports digital content producer. Shares finished 1 % higher at 7.7p. 


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Mon, 11 May 2015 17:11:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68881/ftse-100-finishes-lower-as-election-relief-fades-0000.html
<![CDATA[News - Proactive news summary - Circle Oil, AFC Energy, Action Hotels, Solo Oil, Tissue Regenix .. ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68878/proactive-news-summary-circle-oil-afc-energy-action-hotels-solo-oil-tissue-regenix--80201.html Energy firms, miners and pharmaceutical companies dominated today’s small cap news headlines.

Kicking off with Horse Hill - the new oil discovery near Gatwick airport has received further validation from a new independent assessment.

Energy consultant Xodus Group conducted a review of the conventional Upper Portland Sandstone reservoir and estimated it contained 21mln barrels of mean stock tank oil initially in place (STOIIP).

Solo Oil (LON:SOLO) chairman Neil Ritson said he is confident the Portland oil reservoir at Horse Hill can flow, and he believes there’s no reason that the project can’t move smoothly towards production.

Away from Horse Hill, Sound Oil (LON:SOU) signed the first “transformational” deal in the company’s Mediterranean gas strategy while, in Morocco, a deal with OGIF could see Sound take a 55% stake in an onshore gas development.

Staying in Morocco and Circle Oil (LON:COP) told investors it has successfully tested the SAH-W1 well which was drilled last year on the onshore Sebou permit.

Eland Oil & Gas (LON:ELA) said its 45% owned associate Elcrest received confirmation that it can become the operator of the OML 40 asset in Nigeria for at least ten years.

Meanwhile, LekOil’s (LON:LEK) said its main focus is the development of the Otakikpo field and the continued de-risking of the Ogo discovery but chief executive Lekan Akinyanmi sees other opportunities to grow as the African oil firm is well cashed compared to its peers.

Elsewhere, Tethys Petroleum (LON:TPL TSX:TPL) started talks with Chinese firm Sinohan over the repayment of the deposit and non-completion fee for its Kazakh asset stake sale after the deal was cancelled last week.

Away from oil, fuel cell specialist AFC Energy (LON:AFC) welcomed the endorsement of its “ground-breaking” fuel cell development deal signed in Dubai last month. 

To mining and Aureus Mining’s (LON:AUE) Leopard Rock and Ndablama deposits have been included within the mining licence for Bea Mountain in Liberia.

Meanwhile, gold exploration KEFI Minerals (LON:KEFI) started an alternative financing plan after missing a final deadline of 8 May for a £3mln investment.

KEFI has now carried out a placing to raise £666,000 at 1p with directors preparing to inject a further £250,000.

Premier African Minerals’ (LON:PREM) expects there to be an increase in the value of potash group Circum when a new study is released later this year. 

The group sold its stake in the Danakil project to Circum last year in return for US$5mln in cash and two million shares, a 2.15% stake.

Caledonia Mining (LON:CMCL) said a new central shaft is being excavated to double the mine’s production from the current 40,200 ounces per year for its Blanket gold mine in Zimbabwe.

Elsewhere, shares in Weatherly International (LON:WTI) began trading on AIM again today after a three month suspension due to operating problems at its copper mine in Namibia.

Mariana Resources’ (LON:MARL) Hot Maden gold/copper prospect may have significant value even if it proves to be  only a small deposit, according to Northland  Capital which now rates Mariana a ‘speculative buy’.

In medical news, Regenerative medical devices company Tissue Regenix (LON:TRX) secured approval from CGS Medicare for coverage of reimbursement for the use of Tissue Regenix's Dermapure treatment.

Meanwhile Nanobiotix (EPO:NANO), whose adaptation of radiotherapy promises a revolution in cancer reatment, announced this morning its phase II/III clinical study expanding.

From human to animal treatment and ECO Animal Health (LON:EAH) has received three marketing authorisations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for its Aivlosin treatments for respiratory and gut infections.

In hiring news, Dr Ian Gilham has today been appointed as non-executive chairman of Epistem (LON:EHP), succeeding David Evans, who is retiring as a director of the company.

Elsewhere, Akers Biosciences (LON:AKR) has issued a default notice for the US$1.37mln owed to it by distributor and shareholder ChubeWorkx.

Away from medical companies, Forbidden Technologies' (LON:FBT) cloud video platform, Forscene, will be used as part of a three year agreement, beginning this year, to provide the platform to a major sports digital content producer.

Action Hotels (LON:AHCG), is building on the progress seen in 2014. In the first quarter the average daily rate increased 3% to US$111, while revenue and operating profits were both up 22%.

Finally, there is scope for a re-rating of shares in Newmark Security (LON:NWT), according to the analyst at growth company specialist Hybridan.

William Lynne pointed out the business is profitable, growing and dividend paying – and has been going about its business with quiet efficiency.

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Mon, 11 May 2015 16:31:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68878/proactive-news-summary-circle-oil-afc-energy-action-hotels-solo-oil-tissue-regenix--80201.html
<![CDATA[News - OIL – Brent below US$65 as Chinese rate cut fails to distract from oversupply worry ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68879/oil-brent-below-us65-as-chinese-rate-cut-fails-to-distract-from-oversupply-worry-0000.html An unexpected Chinese interest rate cut was not enough to distract oil traders from concerns that US markets are oversupplied.

In London trading Brent crude futures were down more than 1%, falling below US$65 per barrel, meanwhile West Texas Intermediary futures dipped 0.5% to change hands at US$59.

Although a drop in new drilling activity has trimmed out some oversupply in North America in recent weeks, fuelling a rally to new highs for 2015, new reports indicate the pace of the decline is now slowing.

Stockpile stats last week revealed a bigger-than-expected reduction to the surplus, though the inventories remain historically very high.

There was a new signpost along America's apparent oil independence over the weekend, as China surpassed the Stats and has become the world's largest importer of crude for the first time.

On one hand it reflects the surge of domestic production in the US, as well as the current high level of domestic supple, but, it is also a marker of China ever growing thirst for fuel.

On Monday, there was also news of a fresh interest rate cut in the People's Republic - the country's third in six months - though traders weren't getting too carried away, as several market voices continue to question the sustainability of the recent crude price rally.

Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank, says there is a ‘tug of war’ between the futures and the physical market.

“There have been reports that the physical market, particularly in the North Atlantic basin, is weak and that cargoes have been left unsold. That’s obviously not a sign of strength in the market,” Hansen said in an update on SaxoTV, the Danish bank’s own YouTube channel. 

He says the futures market has been “incredibly bullish” while the physical market is “lagging” behind.

“There is obviously a risk at the moment that we’ve seen the upside for now and there is a need for a correction,” he added.

Nevertheless, comments elsewhere, from Michael Wittner, Societe Generale’s global head of oil research, claimed it was nearly a case of now or never for a crude correction.

The 'window' for a new oil price drop will close in a matter of weeks as traditionally crude supplies build during the three months between March and May, Wittner explained in a note, and at the same time he suggested the end of refinery maintenance across the sector should also see consumption rise.

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Mon, 11 May 2015 16:14:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68879/oil-brent-below-us65-as-chinese-rate-cut-fails-to-distract-from-oversupply-worry-0000.html
<![CDATA[News - US stocks open flat; Uber may be the most valuable venture-backed start-up ever ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68876/us-stocks-open-flat-uber-may-be-the-most-valuable-venture-backed-start-up-ever-0000.html Uber technologies looks set to add another US$1.5bn in new funding and expects the company’s value to reach in excess of US$50bn.

The funding comes six months after the taxi-calling app, based in San Francisco, scored a US$40bn valuation following the securing of US$1.2bn from investors for overseas development. 

By adding a further US$10bn, Uber could become the most valuable venture-backed start-up in history.

It would also see it pass the market cap of public firms including Nissan and FedEx according to a report. 

However Uber is facing regulatory problems including police investigations into its activities in China and France, and questions over its safety procedures after one of its drivers was accused of rape in India.

Still, the management seem undeterred by the problems and expect to create 50,000 jobs in Europe through its expansion.

Meanwhile, on Wall Street, US stocks paused for breath as the bell rang today following on from a flat day in the UK.

The Dow Jones Average and the broader S&P 500 sat unchanged at 18,190 and 2,116 respectively while the tech-heavy Nasdaq eked out a 5 point gain to 5,009. 

On the Dow, construction equipment expert Caterpillar was 1.6% higher to US$88 after an upgrade to ‘outperform’ from ‘neutral’ by Baird.

Meanwhile, Blackstone Group is set to sell 103.5mln shares in Hilton Worldwide Holdings. Shares in the hotel group fell 1.1% to US$29. 

Elsewhere, shares in Japanese car-maker Toshiba plummeted after the company had to scrap its 2015 forecast due to an on-going probe which led them to finish 16% lower overnight in Asia. Shares fell 7.5% to US$19.

In the UK, postal service provider Royal Mail was the big gainer after rival Whistl failed to get funding from backer LDC for its proposed expansion. Shares in Royal Mail climbed 4% to 498p.


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Mon, 11 May 2015 15:01:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68876/us-stocks-open-flat-uber-may-be-the-most-valuable-venture-backed-start-up-ever-0000.html
<![CDATA[News - Gold improves on non-farm reflection ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68874/gold-improves-on-non-farm-reflection--0000.html Gold edged higher as the dollar hit some minor turbulence following last week’s non-farm payroll data.

April job creation of 233,000 was in line with forecasts, but the rate of unemployment in the US fell to a new seven year low again raising the possibility of an interest rate rise at the next meeting.

Sentiment against had been mounting against the metal prior to the non–farms, with long or buy positions in the futures market seeing the largest weekly decline for six months in the week to 5 May.

UBS said the reduction reflected a 10% reduction in gross long positions and a 10% rise in shorts or sells. 

At 8.09moz, net longs in gold are at their lowest since late March and are 24% of their record. 

The broker still sees Greece as a potential catalyst for the gold price, with negotiations now entering a crucial phase.

An agreement needs to be reached by end-June in order for Greece to manage debt payments due in July and August. 

Failure to reach a deal would heighten the risks of a Greek default, and for this reason the rate of decline seen last week in gold positions is unlikely to be sustained, the broker suggests.

Commerzbank added that the US labour market data was not strong enough to provoke gold’s recent dip, despite showing a robust job creation rate and a decline in the unemployment rate, but equity markets were. 

“Clearly gold has once again been switched to equities as US equity markets have been rising – the S&P 500 is now only just below its record high of late April.“

Shortly after the start of trading on Wall Street, gold was US$4 higher at 1,190. Silver was trading at US$16.5 and platinum had shed US$9 to US$1,130.

Major movers

Randgold Resources down 25p at 4,741p

Fresnillo up 3p at 709p

Anglo American up 11p at 1,127p

 

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Mon, 11 May 2015 14:45:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68874/gold-improves-on-non-farm-reflection--0000.html
<![CDATA[News - Risers & Fallers: Aberdeen Asset Management, Bodycote, Diploma, Man Group, Hikma, Spirax Sarco ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68847/risers-fallers-aberdeen-asset-management-bodycote-diploma-man-group-hikma-spirax-sarco-80169.html Below are some of the main news-driven share price changes for FTSE 350 stocks at 1.15pm.

RISERS

Hikma Pharmaceuticals (LON:HIK), up 2.3%. Stifel has moved from 'hold' to 'buy'.

Bodycote (LON:BOY), up 2.1%. Citigroup has upgraded the industrial coatings firm to 'buy' from 'neutral' and whacked up the target price to 825p from 750p. The shares rise 15p to 731p.

Man Group (LON:EMG), up 1.7%. On the one hand, JP Morgan Cazenove has upped its price target for the hedge fund manager to 205p from 200p, but Citi has moved its target down to 200p from 230p.

FALLERS

Spirax Sarco (LON:SPX), down 4.5%. It looks set to be a gloomy old annual general meeting for the pumps and valves specialist, as the trading statement given ahead of the meeting has prompted a fall in the share price. “The normal seasonal increase in our group order book in the early months of this year has been at a lower level than the strong order build at this time in 2014.,” the group reported. The overall economic and market growth conditions in 2015 has not been as bright as the group had expected.

Diploma (LON:DPLM), down 4.5%. Half-year results from the acquisitive industrial holdings company underwhelmed. “While headwinds to organic growth remain in certain key markets, the acquisition pipeline remains encouraging and the group will continue to focus on bringing these opportunities to completion," the company said.

Aberdeen Asset Management (LON:ADN), down 1.0%. SocGen downgraded the fund management group from 'buy' to 'hold', with a price target of 485p. The shares are down 4.5p at 447.3p this afternoon.

---

Below are some of the main news-driven share price changes at 9.00am.

RISERS

New World Oil & Gas (LON:NEW), up 27.0%. If there is a squeeze of short sellers going on (as rumoured) then it is proving eye-wateringly successful, with the shares up eightfold over the last week. The company revealed this morning that Frederick Peters now holds 3% of the voting rights of the company. 

Environ Recycling Technology (LON:ENRT), up 13.3%. The company's raw material supply partner will be demonstrating innovative applications for its Axplas range of engineered polymers at the Plastics Recycling Expo in glamorous Telford next month. The Axplas range is produced from recycled plastics developed for Environ's PIM plastic moulding process.

Optibiotix (LON:OPTI), up 7.1%. There was lots of press coverage over the weekend for new research that shows processed meals kill off the bugs that keep you thin. This won't have come as any surprise to OptiBiotix, which develops compounds that modify the human microbiome so they can be used in food products to make us all healthier.

“These news articles and Professor Spector's new book highlights the scientific link between gut microbial diversity and health. As the science between the microbes in our gut and health becomes more widely known to the general public, food manufacturers will look to incorporate ingredients in their foods that stimulate microbial diversity to provide product differentiation,” OptiBiotix's chief executive Stephen O'Hara told Proactive Investors. 

“OptiBiotix Health leads the field in this area and is developing food ingredients and products to promote microbial diversity of beneficial bacteria to improve health and prevent, manage, and treat disease,” he added.

FALLERS

Weatherly International (LON:WTI), down 10.9%. Trading in the company's shares resumed this morning after being suspended since February. The company announced a refinancing on Friday.

Iofina (LON:IOF), down 9.7%. The specialist in the exploration and production of iodine and iodine speciality chemical derivatives has pushed back the release date of its full-year results until the last week of this month.

Daniel Stewart (LON:DAN), down 8.0%. Another stock returning from suspension; the shares were suspended at the beginning of May pending the appointment of a new nominated adviser, which this morning was revealed as Beaumont Cornish.

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Mon, 11 May 2015 13:30:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68847/risers-fallers-aberdeen-asset-management-bodycote-diploma-man-group-hikma-spirax-sarco-80169.html
<![CDATA[News - FTSE 100 higher by 10; Optibiotix fighting UK's overweight issue ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68868/ftse-100-higher-by-10-optibiotix-fighting-uks-overweight-issue-80191.html New research has shown that processed meals kill off the bugs that keep you thin. 

Professor Tim Spector, of King’s College, conducted an experiment which concluded that after 10 days of solely eating McDonalds food, his son, who started with 3,500 species of healthy bacteria in his gut, or micro biomes, was left with only 2,200. 

The overeating of processed food is one of the reasons the World Health Organisation predicts by 2030 the number of overweight adults in Britain will increase to 64% of women and 74% of men.

Companies are battling this by developing compounds to modify the human micro biome so they can be used in food products to make us all healthier.

OptiBiotix (LON:OPTI) is one of the pioneers of this and chief executive Stephen O'Hara told Proactive  Investors: “As the science between the microbes in our gut and health becomes more widely known to the general public, food manufacturers will look to incorporate ingredients in their foods that stimulate microbial diversity,” 

Shares rose a healthy 4% today to 33.8p.

Meanwhile, London’s main index was as flat as the McDonalds pancake Spector’s son likely ate during the experiment.

The FTSE 100 was 10 points higher to 7,056 at lunch with the Royal Mail (LON:RMG) leading the way forward, rising 3.4% to 495p.

A report said rival Dutch-owned delivery firm Whistl, formerly TNT, lost the funding of private equity backer LDC for the expansion of the business.

There was also good news for miners as The People’s Bank of China cut interest rates  for the third time since November. 

The uptick in demand this will create should benefit miners and Anglo American (LON:AAL) and Glencore (LON:GLEN) and both rose 2% to 1,140p and 308p respectively. 

Meanwhile, Intercontinental Hotels Group (LON:IHG) was the notable faller, suffering from profit taking  after last week’s first quarter results sent shares more than 1.4% lower to 2,780p.

In broker news, software provider Sage (LON:SGE) benefitted from a target price hike to 565p from 540p by financial heavyweight Goldman Sachs. Shares climbed 3% to 560p.

Pharma giant Hikma (LON:HIK) rose 2% to 2,056p  following an upgrade by Stifel. The broker hitched up its rating on the stock to ‘buy’ from ‘hold’.

In small caps, shares in Weatherly International (LON:WTI) began trading on AIM again today after a three month suspension.

Trading was halted in February due to operating problems at its copper mine in Tschudi, Namibia. Shares dropped 12.5% to 1.4p.

Another stock returning from suspension was Daniel Stewart (LON:DAN) which promptly eased 16% to 1p.

The shares were suspended at the beginning of May pending the appointment of a new nominated adviser, which this morning was revealed as Beaumont Cornish.

There was better news for Eland Oil & Gas (LON:ELA) as shares advanced 7% to 65p after its 45% owned associate Elcrest received confirmation that it can become the operator of the OML 40 asset in Nigeria for at least ten years. 

Cloud-based video expert Forbidden Technologies (LON:FBT) said its platform Forscene is increasing its footprint in the sports production market .

It will be used as part of a three year agreement, beginning this year, to provide the platform to a major sports digital content producer. Shares climbed 8% to 8p.

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Mon, 11 May 2015 12:33:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68868/ftse-100-higher-by-10-optibiotix-fighting-uks-overweight-issue-80191.html
<![CDATA[News - Most followed: Action Hotels, BHP Billiton, UK Budget, copper prices, HSS, KEFI, Lonmin, Sound Oil ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68851/most-followed-action-hotels-bhp-billiton-uk-budget-copper-prices-hss-kefi-lonmin-sound-oil-0000.html There is a dearth of new from Footsie heavyweights so attention is focused on this afternoon meeting of Eurozone finance ministers.

Naturally, Greece will be the main item on the agenda, though the French finance minister has already ruled out a deal being agreed today.

Talking of finance ministers, George Osborne's first Budget speech of the new parliament could happen soon, judging by hints being dropped by Tory luminaries.

Meanwhile, among the few snippets of information released this morning by blue-chip companies is confirmation of the appointments of Frank Cooper, Peter Kukielski, Futhi Mtoba and Wayne Osborn as non-executive directors of South32, the company that is to be demerged from BHP Billiton (LON:BLT).

BHP's perennial rival Rio Tinto (LON:RIO), meanwhile, is betting on a faster-than-expected recovery in the price of copper, according to a report in the Financial Times.

“It was expected to be oversupplied but because of disruption in the marketplace and because of decisions made by the industry to slow down some projects we could face a situation where the market is balanced this year,” Jean-Sébastien Jacques, Rio Tinto’s head of copper who is also chairman of the International Copper Association, told the Pink 'Un.

“If you had asked me the question in December last year I would have said the inflection point would be three or four years down the road and today it is likely to be 18-24 months down the road,” he added. 

That is scant consolation for platinum producer Lonmin (LON:LMI), which has announced swingeing job cuts in response to soft platinum group metals (PGM) prices.

“We are consulting on a reduction in labour costs of 10% through voluntary separation packages and early retirements, with no short-term expected impact on production, which may result in a headcount reduction of 3,500 people,” the company revealed in its half-yearly report.

Littlewoods, once a name synonymous with football pools (ask your grandfather) and catalogue shopping (ask your grandmother) is axing the catalogue after 80 years.

The move is not a surprise, given that Argos went down this route a little while ago, but what may come as a surprise is that at its peak, 25mln Littlewoods catalogue were shipped out; that number was down to just 300,000 before the axe fell. 

HSS Hire (LON:HSS), the tool and equipment hire firm, has acquired All Seasons Hire for £11.4mln.

All Seasons specialises in the supply and installation of temporary, large-scale heating and cooling equipment, particularly for schools, hospitals and data centres. 

Small caps grabbing the eye this morning include Sound Oil, Action Hotels and KEFI Minerals.

Sound Oil (LON:SOU) has had two bites at the news cherry, with a drilling update on its second Nervesa well and, more significantly, the first transformational deal in the company's Mediterranean gas strategy.

A deal with OGIF could see Sound take a 55% stake in an onshore gas development off the coast of Morocco.

Shares in Action Hotels (LON:AHCG) moved higher after the operator of mid-range hotels in the Middle East said the average daily rate it achieved in the first quarter rose 3% to US$111.

KEFI Minerals (LON:KEFI) has raised £666,000 through a share placing at a penny a pop, after Goldfield Resources said it could not meet the already extended deadline to stump up £3mln for the shares it had subscribed for.

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Mon, 11 May 2015 10:47:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68851/most-followed-action-hotels-bhp-billiton-uk-budget-copper-prices-hss-kefi-lonmin-sound-oil-0000.html
<![CDATA[News - FTSE 100 makes a 35 point gain early ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68844/ftse-100-makes-a-35-point-gain-early-80166.html London’s blue-chips stocks opened 35 points  higher at 7,081 as miners gained a strong showing overnight in Asian markets.

The People’s Bank of China’s third interest rate cut since November led to an almost 2% gain in the Shanghai Composite overnight, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and Japan’s Nikkei were also higher.

In the UK, Glencore (LON:GLEN) was buoyed by the Chinese interest rate cut as it should create an uptick in demand. Shares rose 2.1% to 309p.

After slumping last week on the back of worse than expected end of year figures, supermarket chains Tesco (LON:TSCO) andMorrisons (LON:MRW) led the risers on the FTSE 100.

Morrisons shares were 2.6% higher to 185p while Tesco shares rose 2.45% to 234p.

Intercontinental Hotels Group (LON:IHG) led the fallers after profit taking sent shares more than 1 % lower to 2,788p.

In broker news, pharma giant Hikma (LON:HIK) rose 2% to 2,049p  following a change of heart from Stifel. The broker hitched up its rating on the stock to ‘buy’ from ‘hold’.

The recent trading update from hedge fund manager Man Group (LON:EMG) has seen caused a difference of opinions between JP Morgan Cazenove and Citi.

JP Morgan has nudged up its price target to 205p from 200p, while Citi reckons JP had it right the first time, and has moved its target level to 200p. Both remain ‘neutral’ on the stock and shares climbed 3% to 183p today.

Small caps got off to a good start today. Premier African Minerals’ (LON:PREM) expects there to be an increase in the value of potash group Circum when a new study is released later this year. Shares rose 7% in early trading to 1.8p.

Elsewhere, Aureus Mining’s (LON:AUE) Leopard Rock and Ndablama deposits have been included within the mining licence for Bea Mountain in Liberia. Shares jumped 8% to 26p.

Cloud-based video expert Forbidden Technologies (LON:FBT) said its platform Forscene is increasing its footprint in the sports production market .

It will be used as part of a three year agreement, beginning this year, to provide the platform to a major sports digital content producer. Shares climbed 11% to 8.5p.

Meanwhile, Eland Oil & Gas ’s (LON:ELA) 45% owned associate Elcrest is to be formally confirmed as the operator of OML 40 for at least ten years. Shares rose 8% to 65p.

ECO Animal Health (LON:EAH) has received three marketing authorisations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for its Aivlosin animal antibiotic and two anti –parasite treatments. Shares jumped 6% to 260p.

It wasn’t all good news however. Iofina (LON:IOF), a specialist in the exploration and production of iodine and iodine speciality chemical derivatives, has pushed back the release date of its full-year results until the last week of this month. Shares dropped 6.6% to 33p.

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Mon, 11 May 2015 08:58:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68844/ftse-100-makes-a-35-point-gain-early-80166.html
<![CDATA[News - FTSE 100 set to open lower amid lingering Grexit fears ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68831/ftse-100-set-to-open-lower-amid-lingering-grexit-fears-0000.html The FTSE 100 is set for subdued start to the week with lingering concerns over a Grexit overshadowing the buoyant performance of the Asian markets overnight.

The People’s Bank of China’s third interest rate cut since November led to an almost 2% gain in the Shanghai Composite overnight, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.6% and Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.2%.

With China facing the biggest economic slowdown since the financial crisis, it had been expected the monetary policy levers would be pulled to arrest a further slide. The base rate was cut by 0.25 points.

“The rumours coming out of the mainland was the private banks were gearing up for such an announcement as early as Sunday week ago,” said Evan Lucas, market analyst at spread betting firm IG.

“However, the one thing that may be evident in trade this week is that the scope and scale of the policy changed is a little weaker than analysts expected.”

Here in Europe the Greek delegations finds itself in front of Eurozone finance ministers again today as the two sides aim to mitigate the former’s impending cash crunch.

Few expect a clear cut resolution from this latest gathering. 

The continent’s major equity markets expected to open lower with the British benchmark FTSE 100 set for a 3.5 points drop to 7,042.32.

EasyJet, caterer Compass and telco TalkTalk are among the major companies reporting this week.

 

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Mon, 11 May 2015 06:52:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68831/ftse-100-set-to-open-lower-amid-lingering-grexit-fears-0000.html
<![CDATA[News - Week ahead: General election jitters out of the way; easyJet, Compass Group and Marston's to report ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68816/week-ahead-general-election-jitters-out-of-the-way-easyjet-compass-group-and-marstons-to-report--80135.html Unsurprisingly, the UK election result has been taken well by the UK equity market.

Uncertainty around a hung parliament was removed on Friday and the reinstating of a Conservative-led government is perceived to be more business friendly.

This propelled the FTSE 100 higher at the end of the week while the more domestically-focused FTSE 250 index was also on the rise.

Next week, investors can focus on data and company announcements due out, of which there are many. 

The market will be looking to see if easyJet remains as upbeat as it was in its last trading update in March when it raised full year profit guidance. 

Since then the company has reported some good traffic figures for March, but investors have also seen a strike by French traffic controllers and a steady recovery in the oil price. 

News about the level of demand from business travellers and the company’s plans to add capacity will attract attention, as will any hints about the potential for special dividends in future.   

Experian’s organic revenue growth has been under pressure, so investors will be keen to view the group’s outlook for the year ahead.

Updates on its important North American and emerging market operations will also be important. 

“Long term attractions include solid returns, strong cash flow, limited concerns over competition and a diversification strategy that has moved it away from relying on the financial sector,” said Sheridan Admans, investment research manager at The Share Centre.

Compass, the global catering group, sends out its second quarter numbers.

The firm reported some recovery in its trading in Europe and Japan in March and investors will be hoping to hear that this has continued. 

The performance in North America and some emerging economies has been very positive for the company in recent times. 

However, the market will be focusing mainly on any comments about prospects in Europe for the rest of the year given the mixed underlying economic picture in the region. 

On Thursday,  pub and brewing group Marston’s is expected to post growth in its first half sales and profits. 

Any news on the group’s progress with opening new pubs, and prospects for the recent acquisition of Daniel Thwaites’ trading operations, will also attract investors’ attention. 

“The healthy dividend is one of the main features of this stock for many, so the market will be hoping to see that the company is on track to deliver the expected 5% rise in its payout for the full year,” the Share Centre added.

 

Announcements expected between 11-15 May, 2015. 

Monday

Interims: Diploma (LON:DPLM), GW Pharmaceuticals (LON:GWP), Lonmin (LON:LMI)

Finals: Tissue Regenix (LON:TRX), Nature Group (LON:NGR)

Trading statements: John Laing Infrastructure Fund (LON:JLIF)

Economic data: Japan Industrial Production

Tuesday

Interims: easyJet (LON:EZJ), 

Finals: Verona Pharma (LON:VRP), Experian (LON:EXPN)

Trading statements: Just Retirement (LON:JRG), Hiscox (LON:HSX)

Economic data: UK CPI, UK RPI, US Housing stats, German ZEW Survey

Wednesday

Interims: New World Resources (LON:NWR), Compass Group (LON:CPG), TUI (LON:TUI)

Finals: SABMiller (LON:SAB)

Trading statements: Compass Group (LON:CPG), Mondi (LON:MNDI), Barratt Developments (LON:BDEV)

Economic data: Japan GDP, UK Bank of England minutes, Canada wholesale sales

Thursday

Interims: Euromoney Institutional Investor (LON:ERM), Mitchells & Butlers (LON:MAB), Marston’s (LON:MARS)

Finals: Vedanta Resources (LON:VED), 3i Group (LON:III), TalkTalk Telcom Group (LON:TALK), Stobart Group (LON:STOB), British Land Co (LON:BLND)

Trading statements: Old Mutual (LON:OML),  Keller Group (LON:KLR), Aggreko (LON:AGK), Merlin Entertainments (LON:MERL)

Economic data: China HSBC Manufacturing survey, France and Germany PMI surveys

Friday

Interims: New Europe Property Investments (LON:NEPI)

Trading statements: Coca-Cola HBC (LON:CCH)

Economic data: UK CBI industrial trends 


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Sun, 10 May 2015 09:01:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68816/week-ahead-general-election-jitters-out-of-the-way-easyjet-compass-group-and-marstons-to-report--80135.html
<![CDATA[News - New World tops small cap risers amid volatile trading ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68815/new-world-tops-small-cap-risers-amid-volatile-trading-0000.html The FTSE AIM 100 small cap benchmark moved in step with London’s blue-chips, rising as the market welcomed the General Election result with a collective sigh of relief.

The reality is very few London-listed small cap shares operate in the UK, however these higher risk equities do depend upon investor sentiment and they do require a degree of risk appetite to keep the market liquid.

Liquidity really is the key word for New World Oil & Gas (LON:NEW), the week’s biggest riser, which has seen more than 1.2bn shares change hands in volatile trading today.

Friday saw the exploration share rise sharply, up 230%, for the second day in succession. 

The LSE had issued a market notice the day before flagging settlement delays in the New World securities and speculators appeared to sniff a ‘short squeeze’.

Exploration junior Red Emperor (LON:RMP) jumped over 45% at one point this week after its partner Otto Energy inked a rig contract with Maersk, for an ultra-deep-water drill ship to drill the Hawkeye-1 exploration well.

Mining penny share Kalimantan Gold (LON:KLG) was another stand-out riser, tacking on a further 25% on Friday after revealing a positive start to drilling work at the BK Copper project in Indonesia.

DP Poland (LON:DPP), the Polish franchisee of the Dominos Pizza chain, advanced as it said like-for-like sales were 17% higher than last year’s January-March period.

While Xtract Resources (LON:XTR) price was lit up in red on Friday, down 17% after a placing, it had actually been another good week for shareholders. 

Earlier in the week the firm revealed good surface mining grades. 

It prompted chief executive Jan Nelson to predict a possible doubling of profits from the Chepica mine this month to around US$300,000, but he added they could be much higher ‘‘if the grades continue to hold.”

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Sat, 09 May 2015 09:30:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68815/new-world-tops-small-cap-risers-amid-volatile-trading-0000.html
<![CDATA[News - Proactive weekly mining news summary - Amur Minerals, KEFI Minerals, Xtract Resources, Stellar Diamonds ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68800/proactive-weekly-mining-news-summary-amur-minerals-kefi-minerals-xtract-resources-stellar-diamonds-80128.html On a short week, it was relatively quiet in the mining world.

Kicking off with gold miners and Xtract Resources (LON:XTR) forecast a substantial boost to revenues after grades shot up following surface mining of a new gold bearing reef at Chepica in Chile.

The miner said grades in concentrate from the mine had risen to over 400 grams per tonne (g/t) from 40 g/t using ore from the Salvadori II prospect.

In similar news, KEFI Minerals (LON:KEFI) released a new resource statement this week that identified some 733,045 ounces of contained gold at the Jibal Qutman project in Saudi Arabia.

The gold resource, based on exploration up until the end of March, provides the key input for an internal economic assessment that concludes the project has sufficient economic merit to justify development.

Away from gold, Premier African Minerals' (LON:PREM) got a boost as, according to house broker Shore Capital the residual stake in potash group Circum may be worth more than its current market value.

The group sold its stake in the Danakil project in Ethiopia to Circum last year in return for around US$5mln in cash and two million shares, a 2.15% stake.

In drilling news, Yellow Rock Resources (ASX:YRR) has completed reverse circulation drilling at the Gabanintha Vanadium Project in Western Australia that intersected vanadium and titanium minerals in 59 of the 63 holes drilled.

The company has now started deeper diamond drilling that will drive an upgraded resource and pit optimisation/mining studies. 

Similarly, Mariana Resources’ (LON:MARL) latest drilling at its Hot Maden gold/copper prospect in Turkey has hit mineralisation.

Drilling last year at Hot Maden intersected bumper grades in two holes of 20.4 grams per tonne gold and 1.9% copper and nine grams of gold over 103 metres and 2.2% copper.

Elsewhere, Amur Minerals (LON:AMC) has obtained a water allotment next to the planned mill site at its Kun-Manie nickel project in Far East Russia.

The allotment includes the Maia River and eight of its drainages south of the expected production area and Amur will now assess where best to draw water to support a six million tonnes per annum operation. 

Meanwhile, Paragon Diamonds (LON:PRG) unveiled plans to acquire a diamond mine close to its flagship Lemphane project in Lesotho.

The US$8.5mln deal was described by Paragon’s chairman as re-rating and de-risking the company’s business model.

In sales news, Stellar Diamonds (LON:STEL) will auction off a second batch of stones from trial mining at its Baoule site in Guinea. 

Sales of up to 4,439 carats will take place in Dubai and Antwerp this month and will include gem quality stones up to 12.6 carats in size.

Conversely, Aspire Mining (ASX:AKM) and Noble Group (SGX:N21) have lifted their interest in the Nuurstei Coking Coal Project in Mongolia to 90% from 60% for US$201,500.

This follows the recent coal geology report that established an Exploration Target of between 15 million and 25 million tonnes for the project.


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Sat, 09 May 2015 08:31:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68800/proactive-weekly-mining-news-summary-amur-minerals-kefi-minerals-xtract-resources-stellar-diamonds-80128.html
<![CDATA[News - Proactive weekly oil and gas news summary - IGas Energy, New World Oil & Gas, Northern Petroleum.... ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68811/proactive-weekly-oil-and-gas-news-summary-igas-energy-new-world-oil-gas-northern-petroleum-80131.html It was shorter week of trading thanks to the bank holiday Monday, but AIM’s oil firms were as busy as ever. 

IGas Energy (LON:IGAS) finished Friday off by announcing that  chief executive Andrew Austin is to step down and leave the company.

The British oil and gas company this morning also unveiled a number of cost-cutting measures including a 25% reduction to headcount and the closure of the acquired Dart Energy offices in Stirling, Scotland.

It comes after the group sold a majority interest in a number of assets and handed over operatorship to INEOS.

Earlier in the week, New World Oil & Gas (LON:NEW) said it was considering the possibility of launching a rights issue due to increased interest in the group’s shares following a recent placing.

UK Oil and Gas (LON:UKOG), the firm behind the Horse Hill discovery near Gatwick, had to distance itself again from comments made by its chairman David Lenigas.

Speaking to the press last Friday, Lenigas repeated the claim that there could be 100bln barrels of oil in the south east of England.

Northcote Energy (LON:NCT) raised £2.8mln to allow it to pursue investment opportunities in Mexico’s energy sector.

Multiple projects are currently being evaluated in Mexico, where the previously nationalised industry is now being opened up.

On Wednesday, investors in Genel Energy’s (LON:GENL) learnt that its 25%-owned Tawke oilfield in the Kurdistan region of Iraq has doubled production capacity to 200,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd).

The field’s operator DNO today told investors that the new development milestone has been reached in less than two years.

Chariot Oil & Gas (LON:CHAR) detailed further cost-savings including a 50% cut to director remuneration.

The explorer also announced that current chief financial officer (CFO) Mark Reid will step down from the board and leave the company.

US oil and gas junior Pantheon Resources (LON:PANR) signed-up a rig for a two-well programme in East Texas.

Heads of terms were already in place with drilling firm Nabors though delays to the programme meant the signing of contracts was on hold.

Northern Petroleum (LON:NOP) has now completed its Italian farm-out deal with Shell.

The Italian authorities have now approved the transfer of an 80% stake in the Cascina Alberto, the company said.

At the end of the week, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, South Africa’s mineral resources minister, has said that the country’s new shale gas regulations has now been finalised.

“The regulations will go before Cabinet at its next meeting in two weeks,” he told reporters.

This will be positive news for AIM quote Falcon Oil & Gas (LON:FOG), an early mover with exposure to 7.5mln acres of the Karoo shale basin.

Karoo, a semi-desert region in central and southern South Africa, has been estimated to contain just shy of 400 trillion cubic feet of shale gas.


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Sat, 09 May 2015 08:00:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68811/proactive-weekly-oil-and-gas-news-summary-igas-energy-new-world-oil-gas-northern-petroleum-80131.html
<![CDATA[News - A week in gold: Support underpinned at US$1,200 ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68817/a-week-in-gold-support-underpinned-at-us1200-0000.html Gold has stayed close to the US$1,200 mark for some weeks, but how strong a support level is it for the metal.

Research house Capital Economics calculates the gold price has dipped below $1,200 fifteen times since the start of 2011, but has not stayed there for longer than 15 days in any stretch.

Indeed, the researcher believes $1,200 represents a key support for gold for a three reasons, two to do with supply and one with demand.

Below $1,200 per ounce, recycling, which has accounted for a third of total gold supply on average over the past five years, dries up as it is very price-sensitive.

Mining gold, meanwhile, costs an estimated US$1,100 per ounce on average, making $1,200 only a little above the average marginal cost. Any prolonged period with prices under this level will see unprofitable mines shut down.

On the demand side, physical buying reappeared recently below US$1,200 as exports from Switzerland to China doubled in March.

Indian demand also rose and should remain strong, suggests the researcher, as the country need not raise gold import duties due to the recent improvement in its current account deficit.

China and India are by far the two largest consumer markets for gold.

Capital argues that with the metal supported at US$1,200, the price could recover to US$1,400 by the end of 2015.

If gold reacts badly to higher US interest rates that might present a problem. Non-farm payrolls Friday suggested the weak first quarter GDP number may have may have been a one-off.

Capital, though, is quite hawkish on the pace of US rate rises and sees this downside risk more than offset by the potential escalation of the crisis in Greece.

“Indeed, in a messy euro break-up scenario, the price of gold could easily surpass its 2011 highs.”

RBC is another that sees a better second half for gold, but its price target is a more cautious US$1,250.

The Canadian broker says the initial US rate hike has been priced into gold at $1,150 to $1,175/oz and it, too, sees the key Asian physical markets as supportive at prices below US$1,200/oz. 

If the first rate hike were to be pushed back into 2016, this would spark a significant upward move in the price according to RBC. 

A potential catalyst for this would be a pickup in US inflation, driven by both a partial recovery in oil prices and higher wages. 

Any slowdown in the Chinese economy and the potential for a stimulus programme would also help gold, though RBC said how significant this would be depends on the nature of any stimulus and whether it was focused on driving exports or the consumer.

Two hours into trading on Wall Street, gold was trading at US$1.187, up about US$13 on the week.

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Sat, 09 May 2015 07:31:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68817/a-week-in-gold-support-underpinned-at-us1200-0000.html
<![CDATA[News - IGas Energy working on five year shale gas plan ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68813/igas-energy-working-on-five-year-shale-gas-plan-80132.html IGas Energy (LON:IGAS) and its multinational partners are working on a five-year development plan for shale gas projects in the North West and the East Midlands.

The British oil and gas company yesterday told investors that chief executive Andrew Austin is to step down following the completion of the INEOS transaction this week.

It also unveiled a number of cost-cutting measures including a 25% reduction to headcount and the closure of the acquired Dart Energy offices in Stirling, Scotland. IGas described it as a “difficult but necessary decision”. 

Stephen Bowler, IGas’s current chief financial officer, will take over the chief executive role from Austin and a recruitment process has now begun to hire a new chief financial officer. 

"While sad to see Andrew leave I am excited by the opportunity to lead IGas into this next stage of its development,” Bowler said.

The focus will be on the shale gas appraisal programme that is primarily being funded by major industry partners Total, GDF SUEZ and INEOS. In the coming years some US$285mln of work will be funded between these partners.

IGas said it is currently working with its partners to optimise a five year shale gas development plan for its acreage in the North West and East Midlands. The programme is expected to include seismic acquisition, multi-well drilling, hydraulic fracturing and early commercialisation, the company added.

Planning consultation work is currently underway for drilling plans in the East Midlands, alongside partners Total, Egdon and Ecorp. Two shale exploration wells are being planned, one vertical and one horizontal, and the company said there is to be an extensive and comprehensive stakeholder engagement programme.

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Sat, 09 May 2015 07:30:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68813/igas-energy-working-on-five-year-shale-gas-plan-80132.html
<![CDATA[News - FTSE 100 finishes 150 points higher after Tory victory ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68824/ftse-100-finishes-150-points-higher-after-tory-victory-80143.html London’s FTSE 100 closed over 150 points higher at 7,046 as the Conservatives swept to power.

It’s not what the polls predicted, but a surprise majority win means we have another five years of the Conservatives and their economic plan.

“For investors, a clear victor removes a tremendous amount of uncertainty in the near-term over the ability of the government to govern and legislate,” said Azad Zangana, senior European economist at Schroders.

Most stocks were trading higher and there were some significant gains across several key sectors. 

House builders, including Persimmon (LON:PSN) and Barratt Developments (LON:BDEV), posted some of the biggest rises today as obvious beneficiaries of a Conservative government.

Policies put in place by the coalition to stimulate the housing market have helped them massively over the last five years. 

Utility stocks also got a big boost too, as Ed Miliband lost his chance to freeze gas and electricity prices until 2017.

By lunch time Centrica was up by more than 7%. 

Other notable winners included the bookmakers, such as Ladbrokes and William Hill, who would have suffered under Labour rule with its proposed ban on high-stakes gaming machines.

Lloyds Bank (LON:LLOY) was another gainer after it secured some certainty on its future.

The Tories promised to sell off its remaining stake in the bank, with a chunk earmarked for private investors. Shares rose 6.5% today to 87p.

Looking back on the week as a whole – top FTSE 100 risers included Sage Group (LON:SGE)  9.4% Centrica (LON:CNA) 8.6%, Dixons Carphone (LON:DC.)  7.6% St James's Place (LON:STJ) 6.1% and Lloyds Banking Group (LON:LLOY)  5.9%

The biggest FTSE 100 fallers since Monday are: Admiral Group (LON:ADM) -4.5%, Anglo American (LON:AAL) -3.9% BHP Billiton (LON:BLT) -3.2%, Aberdeen Asset Management (LON:ADN)  -3% and Randgold Resources (LON:RRS) -2.9%

Away from the election and the FTSE 100, online takeaway order company Just Eat (LON:JE.) agreed to pay £455mln for rival Menulog.

The fee is almost 380 times the £1.2mln of EBITDA (underlying earnings) Menulog generated last year and shares in Just Eat dropped 4% to 476p.

Meanwhile, Fitbug (LON:FITB) ran up a wider full-year loss last year after hefty legal fees and investment in its online coaching app, Kiqplan. Shares dropped more than 8% to 5.3p.

The big winner of the day was New World Oil & Gas (LON:NEW) after it emerged yesterday that deals in the AIM minnow are being scrutinised by the stock exchange.

Speculators appeared to sniff a ‘short squeeze’ and the New World share price rocketed 225% to 0.5p today. 

Rugby union fans jumped at the chance to invest in premiership side Wasps after the club issued a retail bond to raise £35mln.

The club, which nearly went out of business three years ago, said it raised the money within days of going on the market.

Retail bonds allow investors to back a company and the seven-year bonds released by Wasps will return a 6.5% yield, the third highest among retail bonds on the London Stock Exchange.

It follows the Jockey Club’s “Racecourse Bond” in 2013, which offered a 7.75% yield over five years, while Hotel Chocolat’s bond allowed investors to choose between an annual return of 7.25% of in-store credit or 7.33% cash equivalent in the form of a monthly box of chocolates.

The rugby club, which owns the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, is however the first sporting bod to issue a tradable retail bond.

The interest will be paid twice yearly and is being traded on the London Stock Exchange, taking the number of retail bonds to 45.


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Fri, 08 May 2015 17:06:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68824/ftse-100-finishes-150-points-higher-after-tory-victory-80143.html
<![CDATA[News - FTSE 100 surges on Tory victory: house builders, utilities and bookies among the winners ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68793/ftse-100-surges-on-tory-victory-house-builders-utilities-and-bookies-among-the-winners-80112.html It’s not what the polls predicted, but a surprise majority win means we have another five years of the Conservatives. 

The market dislikes uncertainty, so a continuation of the Tory economic plan will be seen as good news by many investors. 

There was certainly evidence of a relief today as the FTSE closed over 150 points higher at 7,046. 

"Unsurprisingly, the UK election result has been taken well by the UK equity market,” said Rory Bateman, head of UK and European Equities at Schroders

“In the short-term this provides businesses with a stable political and legislative background in which to invest for the future.”

Most stocks were trading higher and there were some significant gains across several key sectors. 

House builders, including Persimmon (LON:PSN) and Barratt Developments (LON:BDEV), posted some of the biggest rises today as obvious beneficiaries of a Conservative government.

Policies put in place by the coalition to stimulate the housing market have helped them massively over the last five years. 

Utility stocks also got a big boost too, as Ed Miliband lost his chance to freeze gas and electricity prices until 2017.

By lunch time Centrica was up by more than 7%. 

Other notable winners included the bookmakers, such as Ladbrokes and William Hill, who would have suffered under Labour rule with its proposed ban on high-stakes gaming machines.

The landslide victory led to the resignations of rival party leaders Ed Miliband (Labour), Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrats) and Nigel Farage (UKIP) all within an hour of each other.

Fears in the run up to the election had been that there could be a hung parliament, with many polls suggesting the result was too close to call. 

On the day however, it was the Tories who came out as the clear winners, thrashing the competition.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said: “With the votes counted, businesses will be relieved that the clouds of uncertainty around the possibility of a hung parliament have dispersed.”

Lloyds Bank (LON:LLOY) was another winner after it gained some certainty on its future. The Tories promised to sell off its remaining stake in the bank, with a chunk earmarked for private investors. Shares rose 6.5% today to 87p. 

Meanwhile, outsourcing companies Babcock (LON:BAB), Serco (LON:SRP) and Capita (LON:CPI) were all much higher as the election drew to a close.

Babcock generates 55% of its revenues from the UK public sector while Capita generates 48% and Serco 50%. 

A Tory majority will mean little disruption to the process of awarding outsourcing contracts, said analysts.

Babcock shares leapt 7.7% to 1,067p, Serco rose 7% to 138p and Capita  shares were 6% higher to 1,229p.

There was huge political drama in Scotland where the SNP enjoyed an overwhelming majority gaining an unprecedented 50 seats, many from the Labour party.

Meanwhile there were mixed views for the UK Independence Party (UKIP) as it received the third largest number of votes, but was only able to secure 1 seat in parliament. 

The new fear that will be sweeping the nation in the aftermath will be a potential Brexit, or the UK leaving the Eurozone.

CBI said: “With an EU referendum now likely, business will now want to see an ambitious, achievable reform agenda that will make both the UK and Europe more competitive and prosperous for all. 

“The majority of businesses want to stay in a reformed European Union which opens up the world’s largest market of 500 million consumers.”

Upon arriving to number 10, David Cameron promised to uphold his promise of a referendum on whether or not the UK should leave the EU in 2017.


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Fri, 08 May 2015 16:34:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68793/ftse-100-surges-on-tory-victory-house-builders-utilities-and-bookies-among-the-winners-80112.html
<![CDATA[News - Proactive news summary - Rosslyn Data Technologies, IGas Energy, Xtract Resources, Fitbug ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68812/proactive-news-summary-rosslyn-data-technologies-igas-energy-xtract-resources-fitbug-0000.html The general election dominated the headlines today; but London’s junior stocks had some news of their own.

Northern Petroleum (LON:NOP) completed its US$850,000 Italian farm-out deal with Shell.

The Italian authorities have now approved the transfer of an 80% stake in the Cascina Alberto, the company said.

NOP will receive US$850,000 for the transaction.

Leyshon Resources (LON:LRL), in its ongoing cost cutting, has made the position of managing director redundant.

Corey Nolan, who had been MD, is now taking the position of non-executive director with immediate effect.

The meeting to review Sirius Minerals' (LON:SXX) mine and mineral transport system application to the North York Moors National Park Authority will take place on June 30. 

IGas Energy (LON:IGAS) chief executive Andrew Austin is to step down and leave the company now that the INEOS transaction has completed.

The British oil and gas company this morning also unveiled a number of cost-cutting measures including a 25% reduction to headcount and the closure of the acquired Dart Energy offices in Stirling, Scotland.

Fitbug (LON:FITB) ran up a wider full-year loss last year after hefty legal fees and investment in its online coaching app, Kiqplan.

The maker of fitness and well-being programmes told investors it had made a pre-tax loss of £3.8mln in 2014.

Rosslyn Data Technologies (LON:RDT) has snagged two significant contracts with blue-chip clients.

One is with a Fortune 500 provider of services and technology and the other a FTSE 250 strategic outsourcing firm.

South Africa’s nascent shale industry may soon receive a long awaited shot in the arm, as reports suggest the government is set to approve new regulations in a matter of weeks.

Should it finally come to pass it would be great news for AIM quote Falcon Oil & Gas (LON:FOG), an early mover with exposure to 7.5mln acres of the Karoo shale basin.

Xtract Resources (LON:XTR) has taken advantage of its recent share price surge to raise £3mln for two potential acquisitions and faster development of its Chepica mine.

Shares in the miner have risen by 40% since Wednesday when it announced a significant improvement in the concentrate grades at Chepica, a gold and copper mine in Chile.

Orion Mine Finance is to pump at least £3.44mln into cash-strapped copper miner Weatherly International(LON:WTI) as part of a refinancing.

Orion will subscribe for 171.9mln shares at 2p a pop; the newly issued shares represent 18.1% of the enlarged issued share capital of Weatherly.


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Fri, 08 May 2015 16:30:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68812/proactive-news-summary-rosslyn-data-technologies-igas-energy-xtract-resources-fitbug-0000.html
<![CDATA[News - Risers & Fallers: Baobab Resources, China Chaintek, IGas Energy, Independent Resources, Kalimantan Gold, Optare ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68799/risers-fallers-baobab-resources-china-chaintek-igas-energy-independent-resources-kalimantan-gold-optare-80119.html Below are some of the main news-driven share price changes at 4.15pm.

RISERS

Optare (LON:OPE), up 28.6%. The shares have been in free-fall since the company announced plans to delist, but they have bounced back a little today.

Kalimantan Gold (LON:KLG), up 18.9%. Drilling of the first four holes at the Beruang Kanan Main deposit has been completed. 

Igas Energy (LON:IGAS), up 16.8%. The British oil and gas company unveiled a number of cost-cutting measures including a 25% reduction to headcount and the closure of the acquired Dart Energy offices in Stirling, Scotland.  

FALLERS

Independent Resources (LON:IRG), down 40.0%. The shares were marked down 0.75p to 1.125p after the company placed 80mln new shares at a penny each.

Baobab Resources (LON:BAO), down 37.8%. The takeover offer by Redbird Investments has received acceptances in respect of 85.59%, and not the 87.62% reported a week ago; the discrepancy was down to an administrative mix-up.

China Chaintek (LON:CTEK), down 6.8%. First quarter revenues for the Chinese logistics services provider were down 21% year-on-year.

---

Below are some of the main news-driven share price changes among FTSE 350 stocks at 1.00pm.

RISERS

Laird (LON:LRD), up 9.9%. The wireless connectivity and radio frequency engineering firm said it has got off to a food start in 2015, while the second half looks promising, with a number of new products set to be launched by Laird's customers.

Ladbrokes (LON:LAD), up 9.9%. BNP Paribas reiterated its 'outperform' rating for the bookie, which yesterday announced its chairman, Peter Erskine, would be heading for the door this year.

Berkeley Group Holdings (LON:BKG), up 8.9%. The Conservative election win has proved very popular with holders of shares in house builders and estate agents, as it lays to rest fears of the introduction of a so-called Mansion Tax. Said tax would hit house prices in the wealthy south the hardest, so London-focused firms such as Berkeley are benefiting most.

Savills (LON:SVS), up 8.5%. As mentioned above, a Tory win was warmly welcomed by estate agents. Savills' rival Foxtons is another stock sharply higher.

FALLERS

Just Eat (LON:JE.), down 4.6%. The company that acts as a clearing house for online takeaway orders is to splash out £455mln on an Aussie firm that does much the same thing down under. The purchase price looks hefty, and the fact that it will be financed by a share issue is weighing heavily on the share price.

Man Group (LON:EMG), down 3.5%. The hedge fund manager's first quarter trading update looked good on the surface, with funds under management shooting up by US$9bn in the first quarter to a new high of US$82bn, but the outlook statement was cautious.

---

 Below are some of the main news-driven share price changes at 9.15am.

RISERS

New World Oil & Gas (LON:NEW), up 85%. The shares rise sharply for the second day in succession. Yesterday, the LSE issued a market notice flagging settlement delays in the New World securities; speculators appeared to sniff a ‘short squeeze’.

African Copper (LON:ACU), up 25.0%. After plummeting yesterday on the announcement of the company's impending delisting, the shares are experiencing the proverbial dead cat bounce today.

Aeroema Communications (LON:AEO), up 16.5%. The company anticipates a strong end to its financial year ending 30th June 2015 based on recent order intake for events scheduled for May and June. Pre-tax profits are now expected to exceed £350,000.

FALLERS

John Lewis of Hungerford (LON:JLH), down 20.0%. The "other John Lewis" has had a bad morning after a disappointing half-year trading update. The retailer fell into the red, with an operating loss of £174,000, after the loss of key personnel hit sales.

Falanx (LON:FLX), down 26.3%. The shares have fallen 5.25p to 14.75p after the risk management consultancy announced plans to raise money by issuing shares at 14p.

Xtract Resources (LON:XTR), down 17.4%. Another company issuing shares at a discount is gold and copper miner Xtract, which is raising £3mln through a placing of shares at 0.25p each. The shares have fallen to 0.285p from 0.345p.


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Fri, 08 May 2015 16:16:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68799/risers-fallers-baobab-resources-china-chaintek-igas-energy-independent-resources-kalimantan-gold-optare-80119.html
<![CDATA[News - Gold falls on better non-farm payroll data ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68818/gold-falls-on-better-non-farm-payroll-data-0000.html Gold made modest gains as better than expected non-farm payroll figures put a dent in the metal’s recovery.

The figures, which reflect the number of new jobs created in the US, showed 223,000 were created in April, compared to the well-below par 123,000 in March.

It reinforced the belief that March’s dip was a one-off rather than a trend, despite being slightly below expectations of 228,000.  

In theory, it was bad news for gold as the Federal Reserve has repeatedly said that any decision on whether or not to raise interest rates would be data dependent.

Marcus Bullus of MB Capital believes a rate hike could come sooner rather than later.

"With the US unemployment rate now at its lowest level since May 2008 and rates of job creation rebounding, the first quarter wobble increasingly seems just that - a brief interruption in the US economy's extraordinary run of job generation.

"All of which points towards an economy with sound fundamentals, and opens the door to the Fed hiking interest rates sooner rather than later”.

Should this happen, gold would become less attractive compared to income yielding bonds while boosting the dollar, the metal’s traditional hedge.

Gold was flat at US$1,185, silver gained 1% to US$16.47 and platinum rose almost US$6 to US$1,137.

 

Major Movers

Anglo American down 3p to 1,104p

Fresnillo up 1p to 705p

Randgold Resources down 25p to 4,750p


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Fri, 08 May 2015 15:49:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68818/gold-falls-on-better-non-farm-payroll-data-0000.html
<![CDATA[News - US stocks soar on better non-farm payroll data ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68810/us-stocks-soar-on-better-non-farm-payroll-data-80130.html US stocks made hefty gains in early trading today after better than expected non-farm payroll figures.

Today’s data showed a rebound in April to 223,000 jobs created from 126,000 in March.

Expectations had been that it would climb as high as 228,000 but the improvement is a sign that last month was a one-off.

Dow Jones Industrial Average rocketed 258 points higher to 18,182, the broader S&P 500 gained 22 points and the tech-heavy Nasdaq made a 50 point gain.

McDonalds’ global sales declined 0.6% but this was much better than expected. 

An uptick of sales in Europe helped to mitigate the decline in the US. Shares climbed 1.4% to US$98.

Meanwhile, Microsoft finally announced today that it has no plans to make a bid for customer relations expert Salesforce.

The company said it expects earnings will triple over the next three years on the back of new projects including hololens.  Shares rose 2.5% to US$47.

Energy drink giant Monster failed to meet expectations as revenues and earnings per share were both way off forecasts though it is planning a collaboration with Coca-Cola. Shares dropped 6.3% to US$134

To broker news and consultancy firm Mercer was upgraded by Macquarie to ‘outperform’ from ‘neutral’. Shares climbed 1.5% to US$14.

Tech company Nvidia fell out of favour with Roth Capital as it downgraded the company’s stock to ‘neutral’ from ‘buy’. Shares eased 4.8% to US$21.

In the UK, the general election sent shockwaves through the market as the Conservatives won an unlikely majority. 

British Gas owner Centrica led the way higher, gaining 7% to 275p.



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Fri, 08 May 2015 14:44:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68810/us-stocks-soar-on-better-non-farm-payroll-data-80130.html
<![CDATA[News - OIL - Brent crude steady ahead of US employment stats ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68809/oil-brent-crude-steady-ahead-of-us-employment-stats-0000.html Crude oil trading was somewhat muted on Friday ahead of closely followed US employment stats for April.

With the non-farm payroll figures due later this afternoon very few traders were ready to pull their backsides off the fence.

An unexpectedly large reduction in the American oil surplus had previously pushed Brent crude – the international benchmark – towards US$70 earlier this week.

Crude inventory figures from the US Energy Department revealed a 3.9mln barrel decrease in the stockpile, and it followed the previous day’s stats from the American Petroleum Institute which showed a 1.5mln reduction for the same week.

Market commentators had predicted the rallied went too far, and indeed, the price has steadied and now looks set to end Friday negative for the week.

Closely followed non-farm payroll figures will provide the next gauge of America’s economic activity and the potential trends for US oil demand.

America’s well supplied crude market has been one of the main factors in the oil price weakness which has now been a feature for the best part of a year.

In London trading Brent crude was up around 0.4% at US$65.80, while West Texas Intermediary futures gained more than 1% to change hands at US$59.60.

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Fri, 08 May 2015 14:11:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68809/oil-brent-crude-steady-ahead-of-us-employment-stats-0000.html
<![CDATA[News - FTSE 100 soars on election result; Wasps bonds snapped up ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68807/ftse-100-soars-on-election-result-wasps-bonds-snapped-up-80126.html In the UK, all eyes were on the outcome of the general election which ended with the business-friendly Conservatives managing an unlikely small majority.

The FTSE 100 celebrated, pushing 130 points ahead to 7,014 led by British Gas owner Centrica (LON:CNA).

The proposed two-year energy price freeze the Labour party were threatening are no longer a problem and shares in the company jumped more than 7% to 276p.

Meanwhile, outsourcing companies Babcock (LON:BAB) and Capita (LON:CPI) were in the top five risers as the election drew to a close.

Babcock generates 55% of its revenues from the UK public sector while Capita generates 48%, and a Tory majority means little disruption to the process of awarding outsourcing contracts, said analysts.

Capita’s shares were 5.4% higher to 1,222p while Babcock’s shares leapt slightly higher, 6% to 1,048p.

Ladbrokes (LON:LAD) was the biggest gainer at lunchtime, adding more than 9.5% to 115p.

Had Labour taken power, there would have been a limit to the amount of money a customer could put into fixed odds betting terminals, described by Miliband as the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’.

Estate agents and homebuilders were much higher as Cameron’s pledge to build more new homes was coupled with the realisation that Labour’s £1mln mansion tax scheme will not come into effect.

Shares in property developer Berkeley (LON:BKG) jumped 8.8% to 2,710p while estate agent Savills climbed 7.8% to 898p.

Away from the election, online takeaway order company Just Eat (LON:JE.) agreed to pay £455mln for rival Menulog.

The fee is almost 380 times the £1.2mln of EBITDA (underlying earnings) Menulog generated last year and shares in Just Eat dropped 4% to 476p.

Meanwhile, Fitbug (LON:FITB) ran up a wider full-year loss last year after hefty legal fees and investment in its online coaching app, Kiqplan. Shares dropped more than 8% to 5.3p.

The big winner of the day was New World Oil & Gas (LON:NEW) after it emerged yesterday that deals in the AIM minnow are being scrutinised by the stock exchange.

Speculators appeared to sniff a ‘short squeeze’ and the New World share price rocketed 225% to 0.5p today. 

Rugby union fans jumped at the chance to invest in premiership side Wasps after the club issued a retail bond to raise £35mln.

The club, which nearly went out of business three years ago, said it raised the money within days of going on the market.

Retail bonds allow investors to back a company and the seven-year bonds released by Wasps will return a 6.5% yield, the third highest among retail bonds on the London Stock Exchange.

It follows the Jockey Club’s “Racecourse Bond” in 2013, which offered a 7.75% yield over five years, while Hotel Chocolat’s bond allowed investors to choose between an annual return of 7.25% of in-store credit or 7.33% cash equivalent in the form of a monthly box of chocolates.

The rugby club, which owns the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, is however the first sporting bod to issue a tradable retail bond.

The interest will be paid twice yearly and is being traded on the London Stock Exchange, taking the number of retail bonds to 45.


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Fri, 08 May 2015 12:51:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68807/ftse-100-soars-on-election-result-wasps-bonds-snapped-up-80126.html
<![CDATA[News - Most followed: Clegg, Farage, Miliband, Beowulf Mining, BG Group, Man Gp, Just Eat, Sirius Minerals ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68806/most-followed-clegg-farage-miliband-beowulf-mining-bg-group-man-gp-just-eat-sirius-minerals-0000.html There seems little doubt that the City is pleased with the election result.

Some pundits suggested that it was not so much that the Tories won, as the prospect of some continuity in government. 

Continuity only goes so far, of course; Nick Clegg will not be with David Cameron in government, as he has resigned as leader of the Liberal Democrat.

On the subject of party leaders resigning, Nigel Farage has stuck to his vow to resign as leader of UKIP should he not get elected in Thanet, while Labour leader Ed Miliband is expected to announce his resignation this afternoon.

In corporate news, gas giant BG Group (LON:BG.) has announced the expected sharp fall in profits ahead of its planned takeover by Royal Dutch Shell.

First quarter core earnings fell 41% to US$1.59bn, while pre-tax profit slumped to US$708mln from US$1.9bn the year before.

Just Eat (LON:JE.), the fast growing online takeaway food orders clearing house, has agreed to buy its Aussie counterpart, Menulog, for £455mln.

The UK firm will fund the deal through a share issue.

Hedge fund group Man Group (LON:EMG) has had a tough few years, losing its place in the FTSE 100 in the process, but it could be seeing a return to its glory days after funds under management (FuM) rose to record levels.

FuM at the end of March stood at US$78.1bn, up 7% from the year-end figure of US$72.9bn.

Since the end of March, FuM is estimated to have risen to US$82.0bn, including the US$2.4bn gained through the acquisitions of the NewSmith and BAML fund of funds.

In the small cap world, Bevan Metcalf has been named as non-executive chairman of Beowulf Mining (LON:BEM), a role the iron ore miner says he has effectively been filling for the past six months anyway.

Shares in Sirius Minerals (LON:SXX) have taken a bit of a dip after the potash project developer revealed that the proposed committee date for the determination of its mine and mineral transport system application to the North York Moors National Park Authority will be 30 June 2015, with the following day also available if required. 

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Fri, 08 May 2015 12:21:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68806/most-followed-clegg-farage-miliband-beowulf-mining-bg-group-man-gp-just-eat-sirius-minerals-0000.html
<![CDATA[News - FTSE 100 to power ahead as fears of hung parliament recede ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68788/ftse-100-to-power-ahead-as-fears-of-hung-parliament-recede-80107.html The Footsie is set to race ahead at the outset, as projections indicate the Conservative party will have enough seats to form a government.

The BBC is forecasting 329 seats for the Tories, which would give the party a slender majority in the House of Commons even without the aid of its former coalition partner, the Liberal Democrat party, which is forecast to have just 12 seats.

As anticipated, Labour was all but wiped out in Scotland, and is tipped to trail the Conservative party by almost 100 seats when the final results are in.

Spread betting quotes suggest the FTSE 100 will open at around 6,980, up 93 points from last night's close, as the prospect of a hung parliament recedes.

For once, the London market will not be taking its lead from the performance of global markets overnight, but for the record, US markets had a good day ahead of today's jobs data for April, as did Asian markets.

The Dow Jones average rose 82 points to 17,924; the S&P 500 advanced eight points to 2,088; and the NASDAQ Composite jumped 26 to 4,946.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was up 132 at 19,424 shortly before the close and in Hong Kong the Hang Seng was sitting on a 119 point gain at 27,409.

On the corporate front, announcements are expected today from heavy hitters BG (LON:BG.), InterContinental Hotels (LON:IHG), Man Group (LON:EMG) and Rolls-Royce (LON:RR.).

Across the pond, the April jobless figures are due out, with HSBC forecasting non-farm payrolls rose 210,000.

“According to the Conference Board's consumer confidence survey, households are not as confident about the labour market as they were earlier in the year,” HSBC notes.

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Fri, 08 May 2015 06:50:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68788/ftse-100-to-power-ahead-as-fears-of-hung-parliament-recede-80107.html
<![CDATA[News - Friday's agenda: Rolls-Royce expected to leave guidance unchanged ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68784/fridays-agenda-rolls-royce-expected-to-leave-guidance-unchanged-0000.html Friday is likely to see David Cameron holed up in Downing Street trying to cobble together a working majority, as per Edward Heath in 1974.

In the City of London, the election result will, of course, be of concern but focus will be on BG Group, in what is likely to be its last set of interim results as an independent company, plus updates from InterContinental Hotels and Rolls-Royce.

UBS is forecasting first quarter net income of US$302mln for BG Group, down a hefty 74% on a year earlier, thanks largely to softer commodity prices.

For the time being John Rishton is at the helm of Rolls-Royce but the company announced last month he will be succeeded in July by Warren East, for many years the boss of computer chip design pioneer ARM Holdings.

East is an engineer by training and he certainly qualifies as someone who understands technology, while his astounding success with ARM bodes well for the power systems developer.

The company was also buoyed last month by its largest ever order from the Emirates airline.

UBS thinks the statement will be light on numbers, with investor focus on commercial after-market trends in the first quarter. 

“Investors may also be interested in the order intake and revenue growth in the defence aerospace and marine businesses. We do not expect any changes to full year guidance at this stage of the year,” the Swiss bank said.

Across the pond, the April jobless figures are due out, with HSBC forecasting non-farm payrolls rose 210,000.

“According to the Conference Board's consumer confidence survey, households are not as confident about the labour market as they were earlier in the year,” HSBC notes.

Significant announcements expected

Interim: BG Group (LON:BG.)

Trading statement: InterContinental Hotels Group (LON:IHG), Laird (LON:LRD), Man Group (LON:EMG), Pendragon (LON:PDG), Rolls-Royce Group (LON:RR.)

Economic: Asia - Chinese trade figures. UK - Trade figures. US - Unemployment rate; Non-farm payrolls.

 

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Thu, 07 May 2015 18:41:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68784/fridays-agenda-rolls-royce-expected-to-leave-guidance-unchanged-0000.html
<![CDATA[News - FTSE 100 slides as voters go to the polls ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68783/ftse-100-slides-as-voters-go-to-the-polls-0000.html As the nation went to the polls, shares took a step back, with resource stocks leading the retreat.

The FTSE 100 index shed 47 points at 6,887, with wilting commodity prices  taking their toll on index heavyweights such as Anglo American, BHP Billiton, BP, Fresnillo, Randgold Resources and Royal Dutch Shell. 

Heavy oil users such as airlines IAG and easyJet plus cruise ship operator Carnival were wanted as the price of oil faded.

Hardest hit, though, was supermarket chain Morrisons (LON:MRW) after it said sales fell by almost 3% in the 13 weeks to 3 May. Shares dropped almost 7% to 177p.

Away from the FTSE 100, data centre operator Telecity Group (LON:TCY) shot up after US rival Equinix offered £2.3bn for the business. Shares jumped 22% to 1,085p.

Meanwhile, sofa-seller ScS (LON:SCS) issued a profit warning blaming the general election and British weather for its poor sales. Shares dropped 31% to 150p.

Among small caps, Stellar Diamonds (LON:STEL) sparkled after it said it will auction off a second batch of stones from trial mining in Guinea. Shares jumped 7.4% to 0.73p.

Business service provider Christie Group (LON:CTG) has opened a new operation in Sweden and has hired a new head of investment to spearhead initiatives in Asia. Shares of the auction house operator climbed 9% to 131p.

Rightster (LON:RSTR), the online video distribution and monetisation specialist, is following the well-worn tech company path of growing the top line rather than concentrating on profits, so although it recorded losses of £18.8mln in 2014, investors were pleased to see net revenue shoot up from £6.2mln in 2013 to £8.7mln.

The City showed faith in the company's future by supporting a £5.3mln fund-raising that saw the company pledge to issue 27.8mln share at 18p each and issue some convertible loan notes. The shares climbed 8.1% at 20p.

Drug company Sareum Holdings’ (LON:SAR) shares advanced more than 12% to 0.37p after it called time on its equity swap agreement with Yorkville Advisors.

Sector peer Tiziana Life Sciences (LON:TILS) unveiled a deal with Cardiff University that will see the AIM firm exclusively license a novel anti-cancer stem cell agent. The value of the shares grew by more than a quarter.

On the other side of the coin, shares in African Copper (LON:ACU) plummeted 75% to 0.1p after it told investors it will de-list from the stock market to save money.

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Thu, 07 May 2015 17:29:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68783/ftse-100-slides-as-voters-go-to-the-polls-0000.html
<![CDATA[News - Proactive news summary: Amur Minerals, Eurasia Mining, IGas, New World Oil, Pantheon, ValiRx... ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68782/proactive-news-summary-amur-minerals-eurasia-mining-igas-new-world-oil-pantheon-valirx-0000.html Medical companies dominated the headlines today.

Kicking off with newly listed Motif Bio (LON:MFTB), which is developing a next-generation antibiotic, revealed this morning it has been selected to present at top drugs industry event for financial deal makers.

Its attendance at BioEquity Europe 2015, held in Vienna in May, is part of its strategy to secure funding for iclaprim, which will move into phase III clinical trials later this year.

Tiziana Life Sciences (LON:TILS) unveiled a deal with Cardiff University which will see the AIM firm exclusively license a novel anti-cancer stem cell agent.

The company said the technology is capable of targeting aggressive tumour forming cells originating from the breast, pancreas, colon and prostate.

Meanwhile, cancer drug specialist Sareum Holdings (LON:SAR) revealed it had ended its equity swap agreement with Yorkville Advisors.

The arrangement, agreed in June 2014, has concluded ahead of schedule, Sareum said.

Elsewhere, ValiRx (LON:VAL) has picked up its first contract for TRAC, the gene expression and biomarker tracking technology it acquired in February.

Admescope, a Finnish preclinical contract research organisation, will use the technology as part of a toxicological testing service for drug developers.

In mining news, Red Rock Resources (LON:RRR) interests in Kenya are in doubt as the government terminated licences held by its associate.

Red Rock’s part owned associate Mid Migori Mining (MMM) was advised by the government that Special Licenses 122 and 202 have been terminated.

In better news, Amur Minerals (LON:AMC) has obtained a water allotment next to the planned mill site at its Kun-Manie nickel project in Far East Russia.

The allotment includes the Maia River and Amur will assess where best to draw water to support a six million tonnes per annum operation.

Eurasia Mining (LON:EUA) awarded the contract for early engineering design work at the West Kytlim project in Russia while it awaits a production licence.

Christian Schaffalitzky, chief executive, said talks were also underway to review the mine's operational and financial model.

Meanwhile, in oil news, US oil and gas junior Pantheon Resources(LON:PANR) has signed-up a rig for a two-well programme in East Texas.

Heads of terms were already in place with drilling firm Nabors though delays to the programme meant the signing of contracts was on hold.

To the UK and British shale gas firm IGas Energy (LON:IGAS) has confirmed the completion of its tie-up with international petrochemical major INEOS.

The completion comes after all necessary consents and approvals were received by the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change.

New World Oil & Gas (LON:NEW) said that deals in the AIM minnow are being scrutinised by the stock exchange.

As the LSE issued a market notice this morning flagging settlement delays in the New World securities, speculators appeared to sniff a ‘short squeeze’.

Online companies were also in the news. Internet business focused TMT Investments(LON:TMT) told investors the value of its stake in Wrike Inc has more than doubled.

Wrike has just raised US$15mln through a new funding round led by a prominent American venture capital fund.

Finally, Rightster (LON:RSTR), the online video distribution and monetisation specialist, confirmed it intends to raise around £5.3mln.

It intends to issue 27.8mln new shares at a price of 18p to raise £5mln, and it also plans to sell convertible loan notes to bring in £383,598.

As well as confirming its plans to raise funds, Rightster issued results for 2014.

Net revenue rose to £8.7mln from £6.2mln in 2013, and, as previously indicated, management expects net revenues to grow by between 80% and 100% this year.

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Thu, 07 May 2015 16:41:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68782/proactive-news-summary-amur-minerals-eurasia-mining-igas-new-world-oil-pantheon-valirx-0000.html
<![CDATA[News - Gold slips again; Silver continues to struggle ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68781/gold-slips-again-silver-continues-to-struggle-0000.html Gold fell again as eyes turned towards the US non-farm payroll figures due tomorrow, though trading was subdued ahead of the data. 

Better than expected weekly jobless claims, 13,000 less than forecast and only 3,000 more than last week’s 15-year lows, had an effect.

It hinted the US Federal Reserve may be right in its evaluation that a slowdown in the US economy is only temporary, which may mean an interest rate hike could come sooner than expected.

Silver has struggled even more than gold this year and some clues came from the latest Thomson Reuters GFMS survey for the Silver Institute.

Mine production rose by 5% in 2014, to 877.5Moz from 835.3Moz, while total supply was 6.1% higher, at 1,061.8Moz from 1,000.5Moz.

Total physical demand fell to 1,066.7Moz from 1,112.4Moz, with coin and bar sales particularly weak. 

GFMS estimated a large decline in the physical surplus, from 111.9moz to 4.9Moz.

GFMS is looking for an average silver price of US$16.50/oz this year, down from an average of US$19.08/oz in 2014.

This is bearish compared to UBS however, which sees the silver price recovering to more than US$17 by the end of the year.

Silver was trading slightly lower at US$16.42 today while gold was US$6 down to US$1,185 and platinum eased US$7 to US$1,136.

 

Major Movers

Anglo American down 4.7% to 1,099p.

Fresnillo down 3% to 706p.

Randgold Resources down 2.4% to 4,796p.

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Thu, 07 May 2015 16:00:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68781/gold-slips-again-silver-continues-to-struggle-0000.html
<![CDATA[News - Risers & Fallers: African Copper, Christie Group, Red Rock Resources, Sareum, ScS Group, Tiziana ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68766/risers-fallers-african-copper-christie-group-red-rock-resources-sareum-scs-group-tiziana-80082.html Below are some of the main news-driven share price changes at 3.15pm.

RISERS

Tiziana Life Sciences (LON:TILS), up 20.1%. Shares advanced on Thursday after the company unveiled a deal with Cardiff University that sees the AIM firm exclusively license a novel anti-cancer stem cell agent.

Sareum Holdings (LON:SAR), up 12.3%. Financing must be getting easier to come by, as cancer drug discovery firm Sareum joined the long list of companies terminating its equity swap financing agreement with YA Global Master. The agreements are disliked by shareholders because of the dilutive effect on their shareholdings.

Christie Group (LON:CTG), up 9.2%. The owner of the famous auctioneer said Christie & Co has opened up a new operation in Sweden.

LOSERS

African Copper (LON:ACU), down 75.0%. The company plans to delist from AIM and the Botswana Stock Exchange.

ScS Group (LON:SCS), down 30.5%. Warm weather and uncertainty over the election result were just two of the reasons/excuses (delete according to viewpoint) for a shocking trading performance over Easter and the early May bank holiday.

Red Rock Resources (LON:RRR), down 17.7%. The mining and exploration company said its local partner in Kenya has lost its special licences numbered 122 and 202, though the company intends to challenge the ruling by the Ministry of Mining.

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Below are some of the main news-driven share price changes among FTSE 350 stocks at 12.15pm.

RISERS

Telecity Group (LON:TCY), up 18.4%. American rival Equinix has crashed the wedding party between Telecity and Dutch firm Interxion, offering £11.45 a share for the UK data centres operator in a shares-plus-cash offer.

Genus (LON:GNS), up 4.5%. The shares have been volatile this week, rising on Tuesday after Liberum reiterated its 'buy' recommendation for the animal genetics company, then falling sharply yesterday.

Just Eat (LON:JE.), up 3.0%. The online fast-food order clearing house has had its price target raised to 550p from 515p by Citigroup.

FALLERS

Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (LON:MRW), down 6.8%. In the 13 weeks to 3 May, like-for-like* (LFL) sales were down 2.9% (6.6% including fuel). That compares to a 6.4% decline (including fuel) in the November – January quarter. On top of that, the shares are trading ex-dividend today. 

Acacia Mining (LON:ACA), down 4.9%. The shares are trading today without the right to receive the recently announced dividend.

IMI (LON:IMI), down 4.1%. The former Imperial Metals Industries is suffering a bit of metal fatigue after its interim management statement, which revealed that trading conditions remain “challenging”. Organic group revenues and margins in the first half of the year are set to be lower than last year, the company said.  

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Below are some of the main news-driven share price changes shortly at around 9.00am.

RISERS

Stellar Diamonds (LON:STEL), up 22%. A second batch of stones from trial mining at its Baoule site, in Guinea, will go on sale soon, with up to 4,439 carats set to be auctioned in Dubai and Antwerp.

Telecity Group (LON:TCY), up 20%. Shares in the data centre operator opened higher after an American rival moved to scuttle its £3bn all-share merger with a Dutch firm Interxion.

Eurasia (LON:EUA), up 8%. The Russia based mine developer contracted the initial engineering work for the West Kytlim project and said planning for the 2015 resource drilling programme was now advanced. It comes as the group awaits the formal award of a mining permit.

FALLERS

African Copper (LON:ACU), down 75%. The junior mining company told investors it will de-list from the stock market in order to save money. It is also borrowing another US$1.5mln from its major shareholder, which is already owed over US$100mln.

Red Rock Mining (LON:RRR), down 11%. The group’s interests in Kenya are in doubt as the government has terminated licences held by its associate. Red Rock Kenya Ltd has now, separately, applied for the land.

MXC Capital (LON:MXCP), down 21%. The AIM-quoted technology focussed merchant bank revealed plans to raise £12mln, at a discount, to enable a buy-out of its parent MXC Holdings and to pursue a number of near term opportunities.


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Thu, 07 May 2015 15:19:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68766/risers-fallers-african-copper-christie-group-red-rock-resources-sareum-scs-group-tiziana-80082.html
<![CDATA[News - US stocks flat in early trading ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68779/us-stocks-flat-in-early-trading-80096.html US stocks opened flat today after a nervy day in the UK where all eyes turned toward the general election.

In the US, the Dow Jones nudged 6 points higher while the broader S&P 500 made a 1 point gain and the tech-heavy Nasdaq was climbed 17 points.

There were big problems for financial heavyweight JP Morgan. According to a report, the firm, along with RBS, Citigroup and UBS will plead guilty to foreign-currency manipulation and be forced to pay billions in fines. Shares eased 0.3% to US$63.

Johnson & Johnson announced it will collaborate with NYU School of Medicine to speed up the review process of drug access in the US. Shares were relatively flat at US$99.

Private equity firm KKR is said to be looking to acquire Procter & Gamble’s hair care sector for US$5bn. Shares in P&G were also stuck at US$80 despite the news. 

Away from the Dow, e-commerce company Alibaba announced it has appointed Daniel Zhang as chief executive replacing founder Jonathan Lu. 

This comes on the same day the company beat market expectations in the first quarter and said it was considering buying a large stake in Indian electronics company Micromax. Shares jumped 7.5% to US$85.

In broker news, online giant Amazon was given a boost by Bernstein as it raised the target price on the company to US$600 from US$450. Shares rose 1.5% to US$425.

Similarly, clothing brand Quiksilver was upgraded to ‘buy’ from ‘neutral’ by B.Riley. Shares dropped almost 2% to US$1.6.

Meanwhile in the UK, Morrisons (LON:MRW) led the way down for the FTSE 100 as it announced sales dropped 3% in the 13 weeks to 31 March. Shares dropped 6% to 177p.


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Thu, 07 May 2015 14:57:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68779/us-stocks-flat-in-early-trading-80096.html
<![CDATA[News - OIL – Brent stays steady after US crude stockpile falls ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68778/oil-brent-stays-steady-after-us-crude-stockpile-falls-0000.html Signs that America’s crude surplus reduced, for the first time this year, helped keep oil prices near recent highs.

In London trading late on Wednesday the Brent contract pushed toward US$70 per barrel and, despite a slight pull back, has remained quite strong.

This afternoon Brent crude is changing hands at around US$67.20, down 0.8% today, while West Texas Intermediary futures dropped back 1% to US$60.

Crude inventory figures from the US Energy Department yesterday afternoon revealed a 3.9mln barrel decrease in the stockpile, and it followed the previous day’s stats from the American Petroleum Institute which showed a 1.5mln reduction for the same week.

In the meantime conflict in the middle east has also kept a floor beneath oil prices.

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Thu, 07 May 2015 14:36:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68778/oil-brent-stays-steady-after-us-crude-stockpile-falls-0000.html
<![CDATA[News - FTSE 100 drops 80, Curtis Banks floats on AIM ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68773/ftse-100-drops-80-curtis-banks-floats-on-aim-0000.html Curtis Banks floated on AIM today raising £7.5mln in the process as the company eyes potential acquisitions. 

The UK’s third largest dedicated provider of Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPP) issued 4mln new shares at 190p.

Its market cap is £85m and the company will use the money raised to pay off a number of one-off costs before looking at potential acquisitions. 

The Bristol-based group has more than 26,000 existing clients and is hoping the listing will allow the company to grow further. The UK SIPP market has approximately 1.2mln clients.

SIPPs allow investors to place their pensions in a number of options including stocks and shares, futures and options, and gold buillion. 

Immediately on admission, directors sold more than 7mln shares for an estimated £13.8mln. 

In a statement released last week, Rupert Curtis, said the company was ambitious and would look at raising further capital for acquisition opportunities.

Shares opened at 190p but at midday had risen to 205p.

Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 was 80 points lower to 6,856 as investors wait to find out the result of today’s general election. 

Leading the way down was supermarket chain Morrisons (LON:MRW) after it said sales fell by almost 3% in the 13 weeks to 3 May. Shares dropped almost 7% to 176p.

Meanwhile RSA Insurance (LON:RSA) was one of a very few risers after it announced better than expected first half figures. Shares were more than 2% higher to 427p.

Away from the FTSE 100, data centre operator Telecity Group (LON:TCY) shot up after offered £2.3bn for the business. Shares jumped 18% to 1,065p.

Meanwhile, sofa-seller ScS (LON:SCS) issued a profit warning blaming the general election and British weather for its poor sales. Shares dropped 30% to 150p.

In small caps, Stellar Diamonds (LON:STEL) will auction off a second batch of stones from trial mining in Guinea. Shares jumped 15% to 0.7p.

Business service provider Christie Group (LON:CTG) has opened a new operation in Sweden and has hired a new head of investment to spearhead initiatives in Asia. Shares climbed 7% to 128p.

Drug company Sareum Holdings’ (LON:SAR) shares advanced almost 15% to 0.3p in after it revealed it had ended its equity swap agreement with Yorkville Advisors.

On the other side of the coin, shares in African Copper (LON:ACU) plummeted 75% to  0. after ittold investors it will de-list from the stock market to save money.

Asian Citrus Minerals (LON:ACHL) confirmed it will cut down approximately 300,000 orange trees to stop the spread of a disease at its Xinfeng Plantation. Shares dropped almost 7% to 7p.

Red Rock Mining (LON:RRR) said the Kenyan government has terminated licences held by its associate. Red Rock Kenya Ltd has now, separately, applied for the land. Shares fell 18% to 0.06p.


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Thu, 07 May 2015 12:38:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68773/ftse-100-drops-80-curtis-banks-floats-on-aim-0000.html
<![CDATA[News - Most followed – General Election, banker bashing, ScS, BT Group, Sainsbury & more ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68772/most-followed-general-election-banker-bashing-scs-bt-group-sainsbury-more-80089.html Thursday is election day in the UK and if the bookies are any judge, no party is set to hold an overall majority.

After years of pundits expecting UKIP to destroy David Cameron's chances of having the most heavily represented party in parliament, it looks like the Scottish Nationalist Party will be the party-pooper, and the party it is spoiling is Labour's.

Despite that, the bookies reckon that a Labour minority government is the most likely outcome, followed by another Conservative/Democrat coalition.

Although the City is usually regarded as being pro-Tory, any party allegiance is probably superseded by a wish for a decisive result that staves off the prospect of going through the whole election process again sometime later this year.

Peter Toogood, investment director at City Financial, says the poll is too close to call, thanks partly to the rise of the minor parties' poll ratings, which is likely to encourage even more tactical voting than usual.

Elsewhere today, the Financial Times says the election has brought back ‘banker bashing’ - #ThrowBackThursday – as campaigning has tapped into “deep, lingering resentment” towards the profession, according to the FT’s financial editor Patrick Jenkins.

This timely observation comes as Standard Chartered (LON:STAN) is reportedly “listening carefully” to its shareholders over whether it should quit Britain.

Elsewhere, Clydesdale Bank’s antipodean owner, National Australia Bank, has revealed a plan to spin-out the British unit and float it on the stock exchange later this. Reports say between 20% and 30% of the bank will be sold in the IPO.

While the public remains put off by bankers, there was still appetite to spend money on cars despite uncertainties over the country’s political and economic direction.

Car registration stats showed just shy of 186,000 new cars were registered last month, which is 5% better than last year and is the best April recorded for a decade.

It runs right over ScS Group’s (LON:SCS) seemingly upholstered claim that election related uncertainties had contributed to a reluctance on the part of shoppers to commit to big ticket items.

The sofa-seller, which today issued a profit warning little more than three months after its IPO, also blamed the British weather for its poor trading performance over Easter and the bank holiday weekend just gone.

BT Group (LON:BT.A), meanwhile, appears to be sitting comfortably in Britain’s living rooms ahead of its big Champions League football launch next season. 

The telephone-internet-and-TV bundler has today said it is confident of keeping its edge over broadband rivals Sky and Virgin after its massive investment in securing TV rights to the high profile UEFA competition.

"We know we've got a strong product [and] with Champions League coming on later in the year, we know we'll have even more content to differentiate our services," chief executive Gavin Patterson told reporters.

In Britain’s grocery-wars Sainsbury (LON:SBRY) boss Mike Coupe has predicted that discount chains like Lidl and Aldi would have 15% market share by 2022, compared with an estimated 9%  now.

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Thu, 07 May 2015 12:21:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68772/most-followed-general-election-banker-bashing-scs-bt-group-sainsbury-more-80089.html
<![CDATA[News - FTSE 100 sheds 50 points early ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68764/ftse-100-sheds-50-points-early-80080.html The FTSE 100 eased 50 points in early trading as people took to the polls to decide the outcome of the general election.

US stocks were lower after worse than expected ADP employment figures were released. The Dow Jones ended the session 0.48% lower at 17,841. 

Back in the UK however all eyes will be on the outcome of the election with both the labour and conservative party believed in pre-election polls to be in a tie.

Supermarket chain Morrisons (LON:MRW) led the way lower after it said sales fell almost 3% in the 13 weeks to 3 May. Shares eased 7% to 175p.

Meanwhile telecom giant BT said it had a ‘ground-breaking’ year as profits rose 14% despite lower revenues. Shares eked out a 2p gain to 456p.

Conversely, Insurance group RSA (LON:RSA) rose almost 2% to 426p making it the biggest gainer on the index in early trading as first quarter profits beat market expectations.

On the FTSE 250, shares in data centre operator Telecity Group (LON:TCY), opened higher after an American rival moved to scuttle its £3bn all-share merger with a Dutch firm Interxion. Shares jumped 18% to 1,066p.

In broker news, Argos and Homebase owner Home Retail Group (LON:HOME) had its target price slashed to 160p from 180p by BNP Paribas. Shares eased 2.2% to 159p.

Elsewhere, Citi analysts upped its price target by 35p on online takeaway order company Just East (LON:JE.) after the company’s first quarter trading update this week. Shares were 1.8% higher to 485p.

In small caps, Stellar Diamonds (LON:STEL) will auction off a second batch of stones from trial mining in Guinea. Shares jumped 23% to 0.8p.

Russia-based mine developer Eurasia (LON:EUA) said planning for the 2015 resource drilling programme at the West Kytlim project was now advanced. Shares climbed 7% to 0.6p.

Drug company Sareum Holdings’ (LON:SAR) shares advanced almost 15% to 0.3p in early deals after it revealed it had ended its equity swap agreement with Yorkville Advisors.

On the other side of the coin, shares in African Copper (LON:ACU) plummeted 80% to  0.06p in early deals after the group told investors it will de-list from the stock market in order to save money.

Red Rock Mining (LON:RRR) said the Kenyan government has terminated licences held by its associate. Red Rock Kenya Ltd has now, separately, applied for the land. Shares fell 17% to 0.07p.

Online video distribution and monetisation specialist Rightster (LON:RSTR), has  confirmed it intends to raise around £5.3mln by issuing 27.85mln shares. Shares dropped more than 5% to 17.5p.


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Thu, 07 May 2015 09:01:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68764/ftse-100-sheds-50-points-early-80080.html
<![CDATA[News - FTSE 100 seen lower on election day ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68750/ftse-100-seen-lower-on-election-day-80066.html It is election day and London’s blue-chip stocks are expected to open on the back-foot.

Pollsters final pre-vote predictions on Wednesday evening saw the incumbent Conservative party and the opposition Labour party in a dead tie, with each forecast to win 33% of the votes cast.

It backs up long held expectations that there will not be a majority government. 

If proved correct when the actual votes are counted, investors will have to contend with the uncertainties of either a weak coalition government and the possibility of another general election later this year.

The various permutations will be priced in tomorrow’s market, depending upon the outcome of the election.

In the meantime international investor sentiment is also softer with both Wall Street and Asian markets falling after Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen warned that company valuations were ‘quite high’ during a speech in Washington.

The Dow Jones shed as much as 170 points at Wednesday’s intraday low, and it ended the session 0.48% lower at 17,841. The S&P 500 also closed shy of 0.5% lower at 2,080 while the NASDAQ dipped 0.4% to 4,919.

In Asia, where Japanese stocks trade for the first time this week, many stock prices also fell lower.

Japan’s Nikkei dropped 1.3% to 19,271 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was nearly 1% lower at 27,365 and the Shanghai Composite lost 2.5% to 4,125. Australia’s ASX 200 dipped 0.7% and India’s Sensex held steady.

IG Markets, the CFD and spreadbetting provider, has called London’s FTSE 100 around 13 points lower at the start of Thursday’s session, with the blue-chip benchmark seen at 6,911 to 6,916.

In terms of business news, some big names are set to report, such as telecoms giant BT, gold miner Randgold, insurers Aviva and esure, supermarket chain Morrisons and lager brewer SABMiller.

BT has shaken off its dowdy image to become a big spender as it attempts to compete with Sky on several fronts: pay TV, phone lines, broadband and mobile.

Investors will be interested to learn more about progress on the latter – BT is paying £12.5bn to acquire mobile network EE – while shareholders will want to see that the enormous sums splashed out on BT Sport are bringing in the revenue.

Insurance group Aviva is emerging from one of its periodic retrenchments, and although it has been keen to boost its capital ratios, that has not stopped it jumping at the chance to add the Friends Life business to its portfolio.

Significant announcements expected

 

Interim: BT Group (LON:BT.A), Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (LON:MLC), Randgold Resources (LON:RRS)

Trading statement: Aviva (LON:AV.), Derwent London (LON:DLN), easyJet (LON:EZJ), esure Group (LON:ESUR), IMI (LON:IMI), Kennedy Wilson Europe Real Estate (LON:KWE), Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (LON:MRW), Provident Financial (LON:PFG), RSA Insurance Group (LON:RSA), SABMiller (LON:SAB), Telecity Group (LON:TCY), Trinity Mirror (LON:TNI)

The following widely held shares are trading in ex-dividend form: Morrisons, Trinity Mirror, Rightmove, Playtech, London Stock Exchange, Admiral Group, AG Barr, G4S, Acacia Mining

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Thu, 07 May 2015 06:56:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68750/ftse-100-seen-lower-on-election-day-80066.html
<![CDATA[News - Thursday's agenda: An overall majority? Don't bet on it ... ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68746/thursdays-agenda-an-overall-majority-dont-bet-on-it--0000.html Thursday is election day in the UK and if the bookies are any judge, no party is set to hold an overall majority.

If you want to bet on there being no party with a majority in the House of Commons then the odds you will get are pretty skinny: it will cost you £18 to win just £1.

If any party is set to gain a majority, the bookies think it will be the Conservatives, but that's a 16/1 chance, according to Betfair, the online betting exchange.

After years of pundits expecting UKIP to destroy David Cameron's chances of having the most heavily represented party in parliament, it looks like the Scottish Nationalist Party will be the party-pooper, and the party it is spoiling is Labour's; the Miliband machine is rated at about a 160/1 shot for an overall majority.

Despite that, the bookies reckon that a Labour minority government is the most likely outcome (11/5), followed by another Conservative/Democrat coalition (12/5).

Although the City is usually regarded as being pro-Tory, any party allegiance is probably superseded by a wish for a decisive result that staves off the prospect of going through the whole election process again sometime later this year.

Peter Toogood, investment director at City Financial, says the poll is too close to call, thanks partly to the rise of the minor parties' poll ratings, which is likely to encourage even more tactical voting than usual.

“Will the Greens take key Labour votes? Or will UKIP take crucial Conservative votes?,” he wonders.

“The only factor on which we can place a high degree of probability is that no party is likely to achieve an overall majority. More than one 'minor' party may very well be needed to support – or at least not to oppose – the next government.

“This means that, as in 2010, we are likely to enter a period of political limbo as the party leaders try to form a government. The limbo period could easily be complicated by weakness in the leadership of any or all of the three main parties and the risk of a change in personnel that is not conducive to swift decision-making.”

While the prospect of Messrs Cameron, Miliband and Clegg performing a limbo to determine who gets the call from the Head of State to form the next government is appealing, I doubt that is the sort of limbo Toogood had in mind.

On the corporate front, some big names are set to report, such as telecoms giant BT, gold miner Randgold, insurers Aviva and esure, supermarket chain Morrisons and lager brewer SABMiller.

BT has shaken off its dowdy image to become a big spender as it attempts to compete with Sky on several fronts: pay TV, phone lines, broadband and mobile.

Investors will be interested to learn more about progress on the latter – BT is paying £12.5bn to acquire mobile network EE – while shareholders will want to see that the enormous sums splashed out on BT Sport are bringing in the revenue.

Insurance group Aviva is emerging from one of its periodic retrenchments, and although it has been keen to boost its capital ratios, that has not stopped it jumping at the chance to add the Friends Life business to its portfolio.

Significant announcements expected

Interim: BT Group (LON:BT.A), Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (LON:MLC), Randgold Resources (LON:RRS)

Trading statement: Aviva (LON:AV.), Derwent London (LON:DLN), easyJet (LON:EZJ), esure Group (LON:ESUR), IMI (LON:IMI), Kennedy Wilson Europe Real Estate (LON:KWE), Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (LON:MRW), Provident Financial (LON:PFG), RSA Insurance Group (LON:RSA), SABMiller (LON:SAB), Telecity Group (LON:TCY), Trinity Mirror (LON:TNI)

The following widely held shares are trading in ex-dividend form: Morrisons, Trinity Mirror, Rightmove, Playtech, London Stock Exchange, Admiral Group, AG Barr, G4S, Acacia Mining

Economic: UK - General election. US - Weekly jobless claims; Consumer credit.

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Wed, 06 May 2015 18:23:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68746/thursdays-agenda-an-overall-majority-dont-bet-on-it--0000.html
<![CDATA[News - FTSE 100 marks time as polling day looms ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68745/ftse-100-marks-time-as-polling-day-looms-0000.html The top-share index spent most of the day seeking direction ahead of tomorrow's General Election.

The FTSE 100 finished six points higher at 6,934, helped by enthusiastic responses to trading updates from index constituents Sage and IMPs.

Business software firm Sage (LON:SGE) rose 8% to 536p, after the company announced it had a strong first half to the year. Revenue grew 8% while statutory profits were 5% higher.

Fags maker IMPs (LON:IMT) rose 1.8% after coughing up decent numbers at the halfway point of its financial year, including a 10% hike in the interim dividend.

Holding the index back was supermarket chain Sainsbury’s (LON:SBRY) after the company reported its first loss in a decade.

The UK’s third largest supermarket chain said it made a loss of £72mln as pre-tax profit fell almost 15%. Shares eased 3.2% to 266.3p.

The biggest blue-chip faller, however, was asset manager Aberdeen (LON:ADN) as brokers weighed in with analysis of yesterday's trading statement.

JP Morgan Cazenove has trimmed its price target for the fund management group from 470p to 460p, and RBC Capital Markets has cut its target from 455p to 440p.

Aberdeen’s shares retreated 19.5p to 431.1p.

The FTSE 250 index was off 40 points at 17,412. despite fashion retailer SuperGroup (LON:SGP) regaining its mojo and reporting higher sales in its final quarter as it reiterated its full-year guidance. Shares leapt 7.4% to 1,071p.

Among the small caps, Xtract Resources (LON:XTR) was the best performer overall on the London stock exchange. The miner has forecast a substantial boost to revenues after grades shot up following surface mining of a new gold bearing reef at Chepica in Chile. Shares jumped 54% to nearly 0.39p.

Armadale Capital (LON:ACP) rose 13% to 0.03p after the company announced it had raised enough money to pay off the loan by US lender Bergen.

Going the other way was KEFI Minerals (LON:KEFI), down 7.5% at 0.93p, despite releasing a new resource statement that identifies some 733,045 ounces of contained gold at the Jibal Qutman project in Saudi Arabia.

A project start-up at Jibal Qutman would be timed to follow up the development of the Tulu Kapi mine in Ethiopia.

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Wed, 06 May 2015 17:36:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68745/ftse-100-marks-time-as-polling-day-looms-0000.html
<![CDATA[News - Proactive news summary: Ariana, Akers Biosciences, Condor Blanco, fastjet, Ferrex, Genel Energy ... ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68743/proactive-news-summary-ariana-akers-biosciences-condor-blanco-fastjet-ferrex-genel-energy--0000.html A lot of appointments were made today in a number of different sectors, starting with Wolf Minerals (LON:WLFE).

The firm appointed Emma Hall as its general manager to focus on managing arrangements with partners and assessing mergers & acquisition opportunities.

Hall worked in the speciality metals sector for five years and has worked in investment banking with Rothschild and Merrill Lynch.

Meanwhile, Meadow Bay Gold (TSE:MAY) appointed Christopher Crupi as the group’s new president and chief executive with immediate effect.

Crupi was previously chief executive of Paramount Gold and Silver Corp before it was sold to Coeur Mining for US$200mln.
Iron ore, and gold exploration and development company Sula Iron & Gold (LON:SULA) appointed Howard Baker as a non-executive director.

Carrying on with the appointments, South American gold miner Minera IRL (LON:MIRL) appointed Diego Benavides as its interim chief executive (CEO) following the death of former executive chairman Courtney Chamberlain last month.
Robin Fryer has taken over as independent non-executive director.

ImmuPharma (LON:IMM) announced interim management changes with non-executive director Dr Franco Di Muzio temporarily taking over as chairman after executive chairman Richard Warr’s decision to take a leave of absence following recent ill health.

In other signings, diagnostics firm Akers Biosciences (LON:AKR) appointed an online marketing partner for its breakthrough device to test for weight loss.

InstaNatural will have the exclusive rights to sell the METRON, the world’s only disposable breath-based detector of ketosis.

Rex Bionics (LON:RXB) looks set to team up with The University Hospitals, Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, one of Europe’s leading hospital trusts, to explore an “entirely new field” for its revolutionary robotic exoskeleton aimed at people with spinal injuries.

In mining news, KEFI Minerals (LON:KEFI) has released a new resource statement which identifies 733,045 ounces of contained gold at the Jibal Qutman project.

The gold resource provides the key input for an internal economic assessment which concludes that the project has sufficient economic merit to justify development.

Meanwhile, Xtract Resources (LON:XTR) has forecast a substantial boost to revenues after grades shot up following surface mining of a new gold bearing reef at Chepica in Chile.

Cheaper tree cutting permits in Turkey are expected to halve annual forestry fees at Ariana Resources’ (LON:AAU) Kiziltepe gold operation. Rule changes mean forestry fees are now lower for lesser impact work.

To precious gems and Richland Resources (LON:RLD) expects sales of sapphires from its Capricorn mine to begin soon after mining resumed last month.

Elsewhere, mining-focused private equity firm Grassroots Exploration has taken a 3.6% stake in junior resource investor Metal Tiger (LON:MTR) after it purchased 9.7mln shares.

Ferrex (LON:FRX) said it will continue to work closely with the government of Togo to ensure an exploitation permit is granted for the Nayega project.

In March the AIM quoted company said it expected the permit to be awarded during the second quarter.

Condor Blanco (ASX:CDB) is seeking new investment opportunities while maintaining its tenement position in Chile.

The highlight of its first quarter was the completion of a heads of agreement over the purchase of 100% of Devil's Creek the company said.

To energy and Genel Energy’s (LON:GENL) 25%-owned Tawke oilfield, in Iraq, has doubled production capacity to 200,000 barrels per day in less than two years.

Away from mining and Tekcapital(LON:TEK) raised £2.15mln, increasing its market value by 50%, to beef up its sales force and acquire more university-developed inventions.

Budget African airline Fastjet (LON:FJET) revealed another record breaking month, with 68,088 passengers carried by the group’s Tanzania operations in the month of April.

Finally, Porta Communications’ (LON:PTCM) Publicasity subsidiary has been appointed to run an awareness campaign for St Lucia as a travel destination.

Atlyn Forde, director of marketing UK & Europe at the Tourist Board, said: "We were really impressed with Publicasity's approach and proposal.”

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Wed, 06 May 2015 17:06:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68743/proactive-news-summary-ariana-akers-biosciences-condor-blanco-fastjet-ferrex-genel-energy--0000.html
<![CDATA[News - Risers & Fallers: Armadale, Ashmore Global, CEB, KEFI Minerals, Resource Holding Mgt, Tavistock ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68722/risers-fallers-armadale-ashmore-global-ceb-kefi-minerals-resource-holding-mgt-tavistock-80034.html

Below are some of the main news-driven share price changes at 4.00pm.

RISERS

CEB Resources (LON:CEB), up 20.5%. Shares in the mining and natural resources investment company rose to 0.265p from 0.22p after the company issued shares at 0.2p a share to raise £100,000.

Armadale Capital (LON:ACP), up 12.8%. Another investment company focused on natural resources, Armadale, has received US$50,000 as a result of 220.65mln shares being issued to Bergen Global Opportunity Fund, which has converted some loan notes. This will be the last of the draw-downs from Armadale's facility with Bergen.

Tavistock Investments (LON:TAVI), up 8.8%. The financial services company has acquired Duchy Independent Financial Advisers, an IFA business based in the south-west of England.

FALLERS

Resource Holding Management (LON:RHM), down 10.9%. The company offloaded 50mln shares in Malaysian firm PUC Founder (MSC) at a price of RM 0.14 per share, raising around £1.29mln.

Ashmore Global Opportunity (LON:AGOL), down 7.7%. British Empire Securities and General Trust has reduced the number of shares it owns directly from 3.33mln to 1.38mln.

KEFI Minerals (LON:KEFI), down 7.5%. The company released a new resource statement that identifies some 733,045 ounces of contained gold at the Jibal Qutman project in Saudi Arabia.

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Below are some of the main news-driven share price changes among FTSE 350 stocks at 12.30pm.

RISERS

SuperGroup (LON:SGP), up 7.3%. The year-end trading update went down well, with like-for-like sales (LFL) in the 15 weeks to 25 April up 11.6% year-on-year, though the fashion firm's comparatives were admittedly on the soft side; in the same period a year earlier LFL sales were down 3.0%.

Sage Group (LON:SGE), up 5.7%. The business software firm cheered the market with half-year figures that showed 6.2% organic revenue growth, and a 7.7% increase in organic recurring revenue.

Wetherspoon (JD) (LON:JDW), up 3.9%. For the 13 weeks to 26 April 2015, like-for-like sales increased by 1.7%, and total sales increased by 5.8%. In the fiscal year to date LFL sales increased by 3.6% and total sales increased by 7.9%, so the LFL sales have slowed recently, but margins have improved.

FALLERS

Sainsbury (J) (LON:SBRY), down 3.5%. Not all retailers have been flavour of the day today; the supermarket chain Sainsbury's announced its first loss in a decade, though the losses were largely as a result of recognising its property assets are not worth as much as they used to be.

Greene King (LON:GNK), down 2.4%. The pubs group's shares had a little pick-me-up yesterday in the form of a trading update, but have a bit of hangover this morning.

Aberdeen Asset Management (LON:ADN), down 2.4%. After yesterday's trading statement JP Morgan Cazenove has trimmed its price target for the fund management group from 470p to 460p, and RBC Capital Markets has cut its target from 455p to 440p.

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Below are some of the main news-driven share price changes shortly after 9.00am.

Risers 

Xtract Resources (LON:XTR), up 20%. Good surface mining results with higher gold grades have led to new forecasts for a substantial boost to revenues.

SuperGroup (LON:SGP), up 4.8%. The designer cagoule maker and fashion brand reported higher sales for its fourth quarter and reiterated full-year guidance. With group revenue climbing to £134mln in the 15 weeks to 25 April (18% better than last year), analyst have called it a “strong finish”.

Tavistock Investments (LON:TAVI), up 8.7%. The AIM quoted financial services group has acquire West Country based Duchy Independent Financial Advisers. It is paying £350,000 for the profitable business which includes offices in Truro and St Ives.

Kalimantan Gold (LON:KLG), up 8%. Driven higher in the market as the gold junior revealed details of a director share purchase. The spouse of director Raynard von Hahn bought 123,000 shares on market yesterday at a price of $0.025.

Fallers 

Inmarsat (LON:ISAT), down 2.2%. The broadband satellite operator’s first quarter missed earnings expectations and there was also a delay to the launch of the group’s third satellite, which is now anticipated ‘mid-to-late third quarter’.

CAP-XX (LON:CPX), down 11.8%. After rising yesterday with the news of a possible demand driven share placing, shares in the specialist electronics firm pulled back on Wednesday.

Frontera Resources Corp (LON:FRR), down 14.5%. Re-issued yesterday’s one-year anniversary statement for its gas operations in Georgia. It said the content of the announcement remains unchanged.

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Wed, 06 May 2015 16:19:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68722/risers-fallers-armadale-ashmore-global-ceb-kefi-minerals-resource-holding-mgt-tavistock-80034.html
<![CDATA[News - Gold flat as ADP figures slow for fifth straight month ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68744/gold-flat-as-adp-figures-slow-for-fifth-straight-month-0000.html Gold was flat again today ahead of this week’s US non-farm payroll figures.

Figures today for the private sector from payroll firm ADP slowed for a fifth consecutive month. 

The 169,000 jobs created were 6,000 below market expectations and led to renewed fears that the non-farm payroll figures could also underwhelm.

Economists were quick to say that the ADP figure is not a reliable guide especially as Friday’s non-farm payroll report will show whether the weakness in the US economy during the first quarter was merely temporary.

The Fed has maintained the weakness will be short-lived and the decision on interest rates will be data driven. 

Any delay in raising them will help gold as it is interest yielding bonds become a less attractive alternative when rates are low.

NFP data, due Friday, meant a temporary recovery in the gold price last month as the figures were well below market expectations and it could have the same effect again.

Until the figures are released, gold is likely to be restricted in its movement. 

Gold traded at US1,192 while silver rose 0.3% to US$16.63 and platinum fell 0.5% to US$1,140.

 

Major Movers

Fresnillo down 2.5p to 728p

Anglo American down 7.5p to 1,159p

Randgold Resources down 98p to 4,893p

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Wed, 06 May 2015 16:16:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68744/gold-flat-as-adp-figures-slow-for-fifth-straight-month-0000.html
<![CDATA[News - US stocks open lower early ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68742/us-stocks-open-lower-early-80055.html Stocks on Wall Street made a weak opening today following a nervy day in the UK ahead of this week’s general election. 

The Dow Jones opened 65 points lower while the broader S&P 500 eased 6 points and the Nasdaq dropped 16, all around 0.3%.

Aerospace engine expert Boeing has had to pull its military transport output unit after discovering models from Airbus are undercutting its prices. Shares eased less than 1% to US$141.

Meanwhile, McDonalds could be in trouble in Europe after allegations that it may be involved in a tax evasion scheme worth up to US$1.1bn. Shares were flat at US$96. 

The big faller was Microsoft which lost 1.4% to US$46 amid rumours it is interested in buying cloud service company salesforce.com.

Internet provider CenturyLink, also known as the company that sponsors CenturyLink Field, the stadium of American Football team Seattle Seahawks, dropped the ball on market expectations.

It has had to lower its second quarter revenue forecast after missing its first quarter target sending its share price eased 0.7% lower to US$35.

In broker news, credit card expert American Express was given an upgrade by Bernstein. Shares climbed 0.6% to US$78

In the UK, the FTSE 100 rose 30 points after the bell rang on Wall Street with software provider Sage leading the way forward.

Better than expected first half results sent shares almost 7% higher to 530p.


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Wed, 06 May 2015 14:59:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68742/us-stocks-open-lower-early-80055.html
<![CDATA[News - OIL - Brent heads towards US$70 as traders await more stockpile stats ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68740/oil-brent-heads-towards-us70-as-traders-await-more-stockpile-stats-80054.html Brent crude rallied towards US$70 per barrel on Wednesday as stockpile stats fell and conflict in the Middle East kept risk premiums in place.

The US crude surplus, as measured by the American Petroleum Institute (API), reduced by around 1.5mln barrels last week.

In London trading Brent Crude advanced more than 2% to change hands above US$69, while West Texas Intermediary futures gained 2.3% to US$61.80.

Experts say the bulls are now in charge, and traders will now look to today’s more closely followed figures from the US Energy Department.

According to analyst forecasts the latter assessment of inventories will show a 1.1mln barrel increase.

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Wed, 06 May 2015 14:36:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68740/oil-brent-heads-towards-us70-as-traders-await-more-stockpile-stats-80054.html
<![CDATA[News - Most followed: fastjet, GlaxoSmithKline, Hargreaves Lansdown, JD Sports, JD Wetherspoon ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68738/most-followed-fastjet-glaxosmithkline-hargreaves-lansdown-jd-sports-jd-wetherspoon-0000.html In the battle of the JDs, Wetherspoon is currently coming out ahead of JD Sports Fashion.

“Spoons” (LON:JDW), as the pubs group is popularly known, has seen like-for-like sales growth continue to slow in 2015, but the operating margin has stopped falling.

The operating margin in the 13 weeks to 26 April 2015 was 7.5%, compared with 8.0% in the same period last year, but up from 7.4% reported in the half-year results to the end of January.

“At this stage we expect the full-year margin to be in the region of 7.3% to 7.7%,” the company revealed.

Chairman and founder Tim Martin held no truck with Greene King's claim yesterday that it had been hit hard by new, tougher drink-driving laws in Scotland, saying this was a “smokescreen”; the real issue for pubs, Martin claims (as he always does) is the disparity in the value added tax pubs have to pay in comparison to the supermarkets.

The shares moved up, despite Martin's carping.

Sports fashion retailer JD Sports (LON:JD.) also saw its shares rise, though more modestly, as it unveiled Heather Jackson as an independent non-executive director on the board.

Previously, she was a non-executive director for the Child Maintenance Enforcement Commission. Her former roles have also included chief information officer of HBOS PLC and other director level roles with Capital One, Boots the Chemist, and George at Asda.

Wetherspoon's outspoken chairman might have met his match in Peter Hargreaves, one of the founders of funds supermarket Hargreaves Lansdown (LON:HL.).

In an interview with the FT Adviser magazine, Hargreaves has said the vast majority of funds are “managed by complete morons”.

He is not exactly biting the hand that feeds him, as Hargreaves Lansdown maintains a list of its favoured funds and these, presumably, are the ones that are managed by non-morons or partial morons.

Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline (LON:GSK) times its results announcements to cater for the US market these days, and its first quarter statement issued at midday revealed it has decided to retain its holding in ViiV Healthcare, its HIV treatment business.

The decision to abandon plans to float off ViiV reflects improved prospects for the business, which is a bit depressing.

The firm has reviewed its capital allocation strategy and determined that it will prioritise dividends and accelerated investments to realise synergies in the use of its cash flow.

Among the small caps, low-cost African airline fastjet (LON:FJET) looks set for take-off, as increasing demand has prompted the company to consider increasing the size of its fleet.

April was another record month for the firm in terms of passengers carried, and a punctuality rating of 92% is not to be sneezed at.

"With the recent fund raise and subsequent shareholder support demonstrated at our general meeting, fastjet is in a strong position to deliver significant growth,” said Ed Winter, the firm's chief executive officer.

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Wed, 06 May 2015 14:00:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68738/most-followed-fastjet-glaxosmithkline-hargreaves-lansdown-jd-sports-jd-wetherspoon-0000.html
<![CDATA[News - FTSE 100 nervy, Finsbury Food could get its Just Dessert ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68734/ftse-100-nervy-finsbury-food-could-get-its-just-dessert-0000.html Finsbury Food Group (LON:FIF) is to push into the burgeoning coffee chain market with the purchase of Johnstone’s Just Dessert. 

Johnstone’s, known for its ‘renowned caramel shortcake’, would give it a toehold in one of the fastest growing bakery sectors, it said.

It follows Finsbury’s acquisition of Fletcher Group last October,a deal that created one of the largest speciality bakery groups in the UK.

All of Johnstone’s 150 employees will be kept on if the proposal is agreed, while Finsbury will strengthen its manufacturing and finance functions.

Shares have risen 30% since the Fletcher was acquired and were on the move again today rising more than 2% to 80p.  

In bigger news, the FTSE 100 had an up and down day ahead of tomorrow’s general election.

The index was nervy, at one point rising 40 points but settling back to 6,933, just 6 points ahead of yesterday’s close.

Holding the index back was supermarket chain Sainsbury’s (LON:SBRY) after the company reported its first loss in a decade. 

The UK’s third largest supermarket chain said it made a loss of £72mln as pre-tax profit fell almost 15%. Shares eased 3.5% to 265p.

Leading the way forward was software provider Sage Group (LON:SGE) after the company announced it had a strong first half to the year. 

Revenue grew 8% while statutory profits were 5% higher. Shares jumped almost 6% to 525p.

Away from the FTSE 100, fashion retailer SuperGroup (LON:SGP) reported higher sales in its final quarter and reiterated its full-year guidance. Shares leapt 8% to 1,077p.

In small caps, Armadale Capital (LON:ACP) rose 14% to 0.02p after the company announced it had raised enough money to pay off the loan by US lender Bergen.

Xtract Resources (LON:XTR) has forecast a substantial boost to revenues after grades shot up following surface mining of a new gold bearing reef at Chepica in Chile. Shares jumped 17% to nearly 0.3p.

Meanwhile, Best of the Best (LON:BOTB) didn’t lead the risers but made a nice gain after it announced  both revenues and profit before tax ahead of market expectations.

The company which gives away dream cars to people that enter a competition has seen online sales improve since it moved to giving away prizes weekly. 

Revenues from physical sites, including those at Gatwick Airport, Manchester Airport and Westfield shopping centre, have also been doing well.

Shares in the company have steadily risen this year and were on the way up again today, climbing 5.5% to 95p.


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Wed, 06 May 2015 13:14:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68734/ftse-100-nervy-finsbury-food-could-get-its-just-dessert-0000.html
<![CDATA[News - FTSE 100 rises 30 in early trading ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68719/ftse-100-rises-30-in-early-trading-80031.html London’s blue-chip stocks rose a solid 30 points in the last day before the general election.

The FTSE 100 climbed to 6,959 despite a volatile day on Wall Street, which saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 142 points.

Leading  the way higher was cigarette maker Imperial Tobacco(LON:IMT) after it reported a jump in first-half profits.

The maker of Davidoff and Gauloises cigarettes said net profit before tax increased to over £361mln in the six months to 31 March. 

Shares in the company  have been on the rise all year and headed higher again today, rising 2.6% to 3,202p.

Conversely, Sainsbury’s (LON:SBRY)  made its first loss in a decade  after a year of poor sales and sizeable write-downs.

The UK’s third largest supermarket chain said like-for-like sales for the year were 3.6% lower in the year to March 2015 and shares eased 2.4% to 268p.

Away from the FTSE 100, SuperGroup (LON:SGP) reported higher sales in its final quarter and reiterated its full-year guidance. Shares climbed 4.3% to 1,040p.

In broker news, there was mixed opinion on the fortunes of Aberdeen Asset Management (LON:ADN) as shares eased more than 1.4% to 444p.

The management company had its target price hiked and a ‘buy’ rating reaffirmed by Liberum, but both JP Morgan and RBCCapital lowered their target prices.

JP Morgan raised its target price on online fashion retailer ASOS (LON:ASC) by 400p to 4000p this morning. Shares were 1.5% higher to 3,672p.

In small caps, Xtract Resources (LON:XTR) has forecast a substantial boost to revenues after grades shot up following surface mining of a new gold bearing reef at Chepica in Chile. Shares jumped 17% to 0.3p.

Similarly, budget  African airline Fastjet (LON:FJET) revealed another record breaking month, with 68,088 passengers carried by the group’s Tanzania operations in April. Shares were 2% higher to 117p.

AIM quoted financial services group Tavistock Investments (LON:TAVI), has acquired West Country based Duchy Independent Financial Advisers for £350,000. Shares rose 8% to almost 2.5p.

Supercapacitor expert Cap-XX (LON:CPX) announced yesterday it is in discussions about a possible share placing involving around 31mln shares at a substantial discount to the current share price. 

Shares slipped back 12% to 4.6p after making big gains yesterday. 

Diagnostics firm Akers Biosciences (LON:AKR) has appointed an online marketing partner for its breakthrough device that tests for the tell-tale signs of weight loss. Shares slipped 2.5% to 300p on the news.


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Wed, 06 May 2015 08:41:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68719/ftse-100-rises-30-in-early-trading-80031.html
<![CDATA[News - FTSE 100 to rebound as polling day nears ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68706/ftse-100-to-rebound-as-polling-day-nears-0000.html London is expected to make early gains despite another volatile day on Wall Street.

Financial spreadbet firms suggest Footsie will add around 25 points when trading gets underway, though with the election now only a day away trading is set to be subdued.

Opinion calls remain extremely uncertain on the outcome, with leaders of the main parties now in their final pitches to sway the undecided before the polls open tomorrow.

UK matters barely register in the US, with Wall Street’s attention instead focused on the highest trade gap in seven years. This may mean the 0.2% first quarter GDP may revised down further suggested economists.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 142 points while a poor day for biotech and tech stocks meant a bigger loss for Nasdaq and the S&P 500.

Asian markets made progress with good gains in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Tokyo was flat.

UK company news sees the latest update from supermarket Sainsbury's. The group announced 800 job cuts in April to try to improve its performance. Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline also release first quarter numbers while Imperial Tobacco issues half-year results.


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Wed, 06 May 2015 06:58:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68706/ftse-100-to-rebound-as-polling-day-nears-0000.html
<![CDATA[News - Wednesday’s agenda - Looming election set to dominate ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68699/wednesdays-agenda-looming-election-set-to-dominate-0000.html It is the last trading day before the polls open for the UK general election and as such stock market fireworks are not expected.

Traders anticipate another relatively quiet and ‘risk-off’ session, albeit one in which low volumes and concern over the possibility of an indecisive outcome see the main benchmarks lower.

Opinion polls suggest the two main parties are still neck and neck in terms of the popular vote, though students of psephology will know that often does not translate into being neck and neck in terms of the seats they will win.

A year ago it looked like UKIP would be the wild card but now it seems more likely to be the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) will be the party making a surge, at the expense of Labour.

The consensus seems to be, however, that SNP MPs will just end up as surrogate Labour ones, albeit more socialist in their tendencies, and that if there is any horse dealing to be done in a hung parliament, then the SNP will throw its lot in with Labour.

A formal coalition might not sit well with Labour, however, and it may be that the UK will end up with a minority government and another General Election later this year.

A hung parliament or a minority government is unlikely to be viewed as a good results for investors in the UK stock market, while a Labour victory could spark a stampede for the exits by shareholders of utility companies, and possibly banks as well.

In terms of specific company news, Wednesday sees drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline (LON:GSK) release first quarter numbers. Sheridan Admans of the Share Centre reckons investors may still expect lingering issues with the US primary care market and soft European sales.

"However, we expect good performances with regards to emerging market sales, Japan sales and HIV drugs," Admans said.

"The group is likely to report adverse currency movements; especially as the euro weakens against sterling which could impact sales. Investors will also look out for updates on the progress with the R&D pipeline, regulatory approvals and the effectiveness of its cost cutting programme," he added.

From healthcare to something that isn't; Imperial Tobacco (LON:IMT), which issues half-year results on Wednesday.

Panmure Gordon is predicting a year-on-year increase in sales of three or four per-cent, on a constant currency basis, with Germany putting in a good stint.

"We would note that in the comparable period volumes were negatively impacted by customer de-stocking and therefore this is not a guide to ‘underlying’ performance since de-stocking reduced volumes by 4% in H1’14 (though these volumes are not expected to come back). Therefore Mgt might well state that underlying volumes are down 3% (Q1 -4%) and net revenues are only up 1-2% but these figures are only notional and we believe demonstrating positive sales growth (at constant fx) is the important feature of the results," Panmure Gordon said.

"Currency translation is expected to be a c3.5% headwind in the first half." The broker has forecast adjusted earning per share of 92.7p, up 3.5% on last year, despite currency headwinds. It has pencilled in an interim dividend of 42.7p, up 10% on last year.

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Tue, 05 May 2015 17:33:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/68699/wednesdays-agenda-looming-election-set-to-dominate-0000.html