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Greggs shares are on a roll thanks to Piers Morgan and vegans

A look at some of the day's major stock market movers on Wednesday.

Greggs sausage roll
A Greggs sausage roll, containing meat sausage

It has certainly been an interesting start to the year for Greggs plc (LON:GRG) what with all the furor around its meatless sausage roll and Pier Morgan’s subsequent ‘outrage’.

Greggs shares were up 76.5p or 5.6% changing hands at 1,443.5p.

The baker earlier today lifted its full-year profit guidance for the second time in as many months following a “very strong” performance over Christmas.

“Gregg’s PR and marketing has shown itself to be extremely nimble and smart,” said Jordan Hiscott, chief trader at Ayondo.

Not only changing items on the menu due to customer demand with extreme speed, but also on trend marketing with the most recent a “vegan sausage roll” packaged with a video explainer.

In addition, Piers Morgan slating the product on national day time TV caused it to go viral, increasing demand in store.

Hiscott added: “Going forward, this kind of hype for a new item on a menu is difficult to repeat, however you just need to look at its share price performance to show how successful the company is at this type of marketing.”

Greggs has risen about 14.5% since mid-December.

11:50am: Regal Petroleum in the small cap doghouse after production update fails to impress

Regal Petroleum PLC (LON:RPT) was a faller in lunchtime trading, down 6.8% to 55p after a production update and a call with investors failed to impress, even though it saw a 67% increase in average daily gas production from its fields in Ukraine over the year.

Elsewhere in the sector, Echo Energy Plc (LON:ECHO) shares pulled back 6% after Tuesday’s positivity around the start of a well stimulation programme in Argentina.

And Anglo African Oil & Gas PLC (LON:AAOG) shed 8% at 10.3p after it tapped shareholders for £6.0mln to provide the funds required to complete the drilling of well TLP-103C at its Tilapia field in the Republic of the Congo.

The independent oil and gas developer, which saw its shares rise on Monday after it confirmed multiple discoveries from the TLP-103 well, said it had placed 60mln new ordinary shares with investors at a price of 10p each.

But moving higher, computing firm Softcat plc (LON:SCT) added 19.8% to 707p, as boasted of strong trading, which the company said was “materially ahead of where we expected to be at this stage of the year.”

9:05am: Grand Vision Media more than doubles on Chinese cinema deal

Grand Vision Media Holdings PLC (LON:GVMH) shares more than doubled in value in early trading on Wednesday after unveiling a deal to supply 3D screens to a Chinese cinema group.

It will install the panels in 22 new locations for the Dadi Cinema Group, which operates 470 cinemas, and this is the first deal between the companies.

GVMH soared 16p or 106% to change hands at 31p.

Overall though retailers held sway as the Christmas trading update season continued.

Shoe Zone PLC (LON:SHOE) was on the front foot, rising around 9% to 196p, as the footwear retailer confirmed a special dividend for the year after achieving record pre-tax profit.

Similarly clothes brand Ted Baker PLC (LON:TED) shares jumped 12% as the fashion label unveiled a solid Christmas trading update despite a difficult retail market. Retail sales in the five weeks to January 5 rose 12.2%, or 10.5% at constant currency. E-commerce sales gained 18.7%, or 17.7% in constant currency, and accounted for 25.7% of total retail sales.

Proactive news headlines:

Remote Monitored Systems PLC (LON:RMS) has reported that its subsidiaries, Geocurve and GyroMetric, saw increased sales and revenues across 2018. Big Pic in November. The chief financial officer of Silence Therapeutics PLC (LON:SLN), David Ellam, has left the gene editing specialist with immediate effect.

OptiBiotix Health plc (LON:OPTI) has inked a distribution agreement that will see its cholesterol and blood pressure product sold in Russia and Kazakhstan. In the latest of a series of similar commercial deals, the company is teaming up with SilvExpo, a local pharmaceutical and nutraceutical business.

Columbus Energy Resources PLC (LON:CERP) confirmed that it achieved the targeted end of year peak production rate of 1,000 barrels of oil per day, with the help of the asset acquisition. The Trinidad-focused company, in a statement, said that output hit 1,021 bopd in late December while the average rate for the fourth quarter amounted to 670 bopd.

The chief financial officer of Silence Therapeutics PLC (LON:SLN), David Ellam, has left the gene editing specialist with immediate effect. Silence’s group head of financial planning and analysis, Rob Quinn, will take on Ellam’s responsibilities for the time being whilst a permanent successor is found.

Sunrise Resources Plc (LON:SRES) has raised £350,000 through a share placing to support activities at the CS pozzolan-perlite project in Nevada. It is selling some 291.6mln new shares priced at 0.12p each.

Salt Lake Potash Limited (LON:S04) (ASX:SO4) said it has now completed a placing of 31.0mln new ordinary shares to raise gross proceeds of A$13.0mln, first announced on 9 November 2018. The group said the second tranche comprising 1,702,381 ordinary shares were placed at a price of A$0.42 each, including 952,381 shares subscribed for by Salt Lake’s CEO, Tony Swiericzuk, and 750,000 shares by its chairman, Ian Middlemas. Proceeds will be used to fund the construction of the Williamson Ponds and dewatering of the Williamson Pit, as well as ongoing development of on-lake infrastructure, exploration and feasibility studies, and general working capital, the company said.

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