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Markets: Chinese data pushes FTSE 100 upwards on Thursday

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Interactive Investor's Market Report brings you bite-sized news covering all the day's FTSE and AIM announcements, the latest on commodities, global and domestic economics, gold, oil and currencies as well as US markets. Updated throughout the day, it's the digest you can't afford to miss.

Last updated: 17:05

UK markets: Thursday's close

The FTSE 100 (UKX) consolidated its gains on Thursday as miners were given a boost by positive manufacturing data from China.

The benchmark index was up 39.00 points at the close at 5791.03.

SABMiller (SAB) was ahead of the pack as it climbed 6.9% following the release of results showing an 11% increase in sales. At the other end of the table was Polymetal International (POLY), which lost 1%.

On AIM, Leyshon Resources () moved up more than 70% in anticipation of positive drilling results, while Noventa () lost 17%.

Users on Interactive Investor traded the best- and worst-performing stocks on AIM, with Leyshon the most heavily bought and Noventa sold in high volumes.

Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at IG, commented: "The eurozone might be drifting further into recession, but it seems markets are content to ignore this and focus on figures which suggest that the situation in the global powers of the US and China is improving.

"With US markets closed for Thanksgiving, it was almost inevitable that the cheery optimists would take charge to push markets higher. However, we remain vulnerable to any ramping up of rhetoric in the US fiscal cliff crisis."

At a glance...

Currencies Commodities
GBP/USD: 1.5927 Gold: $1,730.76
GBP/EUR: 1.2377 WTI crude oil: $87.22
EUR/USD: 1.2873 All changes from 09:00 GMT.






Cobham to fly BHP Billiton workers

Cobham (COB) has consolidated its fly-in-fly-out arrangements with BHP Billiton (BLT) to transport workers to remote mines at Yandi and Area C, 1,100 kilometres north east of Perth, Australia.

The arrangements are valued at AU$65 million (£42.2 million) and build on services Cobham has provided to companies operating in the area since 2003.

New director for WH Smith

WH Smith (SMWH) has appointed Annemarie Durbin as a non-executive director with effect from 3 December, after the retirement of Mike Ellis.

Durbin is currently group head of corporate governance, property, environment and security at Standard Chartered (STAN).

Grainger appoints new director

Grainger (GRI) has appointed Simon Davies to its board as a non-executive director. Davies has over 30-years' experience in the investment industry, gained in a number of senior roles at major firms.

He has held positions on a number of other boards, including Threadneedle Asset Management, where he was chairman and chief executive; Thames Water Pensions, Sound Oil (SOU) and Zurich UK.

Currently, he is chairman of JP Morgan Overseas Investment Trust (), a position he has held since 2010, having joined the board as a non-executive director in 1999.

Catlin Group appoints new claims director

Catlin Group (CGL) has appointed Glenn Brace as group claims director.

In his new role starting in 2013, Brace will be responsible for Catlin's worldwide claims operations, including the claims functions of all six of the group's underwriting hubs.

He will be based in London and succeeds Nick Sinfield, who was previously promoted to chief executive of Catlin's London/UK underwriting hub. He will report to chief operating officer Paul Jardine.

UK markets: 15:00 update

The FTSE 100 (UKX) pared some of its gains, but still stood firmly in the black as Thursday wore on, jumping 31 points to 5783.

SABMiller (SAB) was at the top of the pops, adding almost 6%. Fresnillo (FRES) slipped 1%.

On AIM, shares in Leyshon Resources () soared 76%. Palace Capital (PCA) lost a quarter of its market capitalisation.

At a glance...

Currencies Commodities
GBP/USD: 1.5950 Gold: $1,730.67
GBP/EUR: 1.2381 WTI crude oil: $87.38
EUR/USD: 1.2877 All changes from 09:00 GMT.






Digital Barriers' order growth ahead of revenue

Digital Barriers (DGB) has reported another period of good strategic progress, with revenues coming in at £8.1 million.

Increased traction into large flagship customers in Asia has driven international revenues to 27% of group sales. The contracted order book was said to be up "significantly" year-on-year, with order growth tracking ahead of revenue.

"Digital Barriers is an early-stage, high-growth tech play capable of being the de-facto standard in its fast growing end markets," stated Julian Yates, analyst at Investec. He had a 'buy' recommendation on the stock.

Intercede in the red

Intercede (IGP) has made a pre-tax loss of £185,000 for the six months ended 30 September, compared to a pre-tax profit of £653,000 made in the corresponding period in 2011.

Revenues were mostly unchanged at c. £3.5 billion. Cash in the company stood at c. £7.2 billion at period-end.

"We are confident and committed to our investment plan in support of Intercede's 2020 vision for high growth in the medium to long term," commented chairman and chief executive Richard Parris. "In the short term shareholders should be comforted that, in spite of a period of increased investment, our cash position is stronger than ever."

TEG kicks off construction at Dagenham

The TEG Group (TEG) has commenced construction of a £21 million organic waste facility at East London's Dagenham Dock.

The new facility will process 49,000 tonnes per annum of food and green waste on a 4.7 acre site on the Mayor of London's 60 acre London Sustainable Industries Park. The plant will generate approximately 1.4 megawatts of electricity, sufficient to power approximately 2,000 homes.

TEG has begun the groundworks for the new facility in preparation for construction later in 2012.

Daily Mail ahead of expectations

Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) has posted full-year results ahead of expectations and proposed a new share buyback worth £100 million.
Operating profit was up 7% on the previous year at £300 million, despite a 1% fall in revenue to £1.96 billion. Sales on an underlying basis increased by 3%.
The company's ailing Northcliffe business seems to have turned a corner after major restructuring that saw 320 staff axed. The regional newspaper arm saw operating profit up 54% despite a 6% fall in underlying revenue.

On Wednesday, DMTG agreed to sell the division to a consortium for £52.5 million and a 38.7% stake in the new group.

The firm said its strong operational cash flow means that it is able to make on market purchases of ordinary non-voting shares of up to £100 million. 

Analysts at Investec kept their 'buy' recommendation, commenting: "DMGT remains a top media special sit for us given portfolio refocus and strong B2B businesses. Valuation looks too low given change/momentum."

Youngs serves solid results

Young and Co's Brewery (YNGA) has announced a strong set of first-half results, reporting pre-tax profits of £13.9 million, up 11.2% year-on-year.

The interim dividend has been increased for the 16th consecutive year, by 5.1% to 7.02p. EBITDA in managed pubs and at Geronimo increased 6.1% and 8.9% respectively, but declined 4% in tenanted pubs, reflecting a smaller but higher-quality estate. Net debt of £117.1 million at the period end was broadly unchanged from the year-end position.

The pubs operator confirmed trading was strong in the second half, with like-for-like sales up 6% in the first seven weeks of the period and a continuing the pattern of accelerating managed-pub sales during the course of the year. Total managed pub sales in the second half were up 9.4% and second-half trading should benefit from the opening of five new managed pubs and one hotel development, while profit conversion from recent openings should continue to build. The group's strong balance sheet provides an opportunity to grow both through selective acquisitions and packages.

"We make no changes to our group forecasts but believe the risk to forecasts is on the upside," stated Simon French, analyst at Panmure Gordon, reiterating his 'buy' recommendation and 804p target price.

Murdoch sells $10 million News Corp shares

Rupert Muroch has shed more than $10 million (£6.3 million) worth of shares in News Corp (NCRA), about 5% of his family stake in class A shares in the firm.
The stock has risen 34% this year and the media group recently said its net profit for the three months to 30 September was almost three times higher than a year earlier.
The Murdochs still control around 40% of News Corp largely through class B shares, which carry greater voting rights.

Lower losses lift Mothercare

Shares in Mothercare (MTC) gained nearly 4% on Thursday after the retailer reported an interim pre-tax loss of £600,000, better than consensus expectations of £3.2 million and down from £4.4 million a year ago.

The specialist in products for expectant parents has been undergoing a transformation and growth plan, which the retailer said was progressing well with store restructuring on track, a new store format implemented, the website relaunched, and new ranges brought out.

Read: Mothercare boosted by strong update, for more.

Imminent results spark interest in Leyshon

Shares in Leyshon Resources () soared 46% as investors bought into the stock pending an announcement in relation to drilling results expected on Monday 26 November.
The China-focused miner recently launched a new venture to assess shale gas projects in the People's Republic.

For the full story, read: Leyshon leaps ahead of Chinese drilling results.

Lloyds director leaves for RSA

Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) non-executive director and audit committee chairman Martin Scicluna will step down from the board and leave the group in March 2013.
He will be appointed as chairman of Britain's biggest commercial insurer, RSA Group (RSA), on 1 January, 2013.

Strategic Minerals soars

Shares in Strategic Minerals (SML) surged almost 25% on news that it had commenced full-scale production with the completion of its first export market shipment from its magnetite tailings deposit at the Cobre Mine in New Mexico. Meanwhile, Ormonde Mining (ORM) on Thursday released an interim update on funding progress for its flagship Barruecopardo tungsten project in Salamanca, Spain.

For more, read: Thursday's mining news.

UK markets: Midday update

The FTSE 100 (UKX) continued to hold on to its gains on Thursday, climbing 32 points to 5784, as Chinese manufacturing data inspired investors.

SABMiller (SAB) led the blue chips higher, adding almost 7%. Vodafone Group (VOD) declined 0.8%.

Noventa () was the most actively-traded stock by users of Interactive Investor.

On AIM, shares in Leyshon Resources () soared 44%. Palace Capital (PCA) lost a quarter of its market capitalisation.

"Talk of a bottoming out of China's 'economic woes' will become a bigger story in [the first quarter of 2013], assuming speedy resolutions to the US fiscal cliff issue and the next Greek bail-out tranche go through," commented Will Hedden, sales trader at IG.

At a glance...

Currencies Commodities
GBP/USD: 1.5956 Gold: $1,729.99
GBP/EUR: 1.2391 WTI crude oil: $87.34
EUR/USD: 1.2880 All changes from 09:00 GMT.






CBI data maintains fourth-quarter growth fears

The latest Confederation of British Industry (CBI) survey showed the balance of manufacturers reporting that their orders were at normal levels could only improve to -21% in November after slumping to -23% in October.

The indication from the survey is that domestic demand was particularly muted in November, as the export order balance recovered to -12% after falling to -22% in October. November's balance was actually well above the long-run average of -21%.

"The November CBI industrial trends survey shows soft orders and a marked falling back in near-term output expectations, thereby adding to the largely disappointing news out so far for the fourth quarter," stated Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight.

"Indeed, the CBI survey fuels suspicion that the UK still faces a difficult task in developing sustainable significant recovery in the face of ongoing domestic and eurozone headwinds."

Mercom climbs on sale promise

Canadian-focused Mercom Oil Sands (MMO) was one of Thursday's fastest climbers on AIM after it revealed that one of its minority shareholders had formed a company to make a bid for Nordic Petroleum and, if successful, intended to enter into negotiations with Mercom to sell it a 100% interest in the four Chard Oil Sands Leases.

For our round-up, read: Thursday's oil and gas news.

Cameron vows to fight EU budget increase

Prime Minister David Cameron swore to stand against an increase in the EU's budget as he arrived in Brussels for negotiations.
He said he would use his veto to block any deal that he considered "bad for Britain" and that he would build alliances with other leaders looking to block a rise.

Solo eyes Ruvuma partners

Explorer and developer Solo Oil (SOLO) has set a February deadline for any parties interested in a potential farm-in for its Ruvuma Basin in Tanzania.

The Ruvuma production sharing agreement (PSA) comprises of two blocks close to the giant multi-trillion cubic foot (tcf) discoveries of BG Group's (BG.) Jodari and Anardarko Petroleum's (APC) Golfinho.

Read: Solo Oil targets Ruvuma farm-out, for more.

Leni assigned Trinidad interests

Leni Gas and Oil (LGO) has successfully concluded a farm-in to Advance Oil's North Moruga area leases in Trinidad.

Chief executive Neil Ritson stated: "Completion of the farm-in comes at an ideal time for Leni as we can now scale-up our operations in Trinidad from the existing resources focused on Goudron."

For the full story, read: Leni seals Trinidad farm-in.

Reckitt Benckiser makes US takeover

Reckitt Benckiser (RB.) has signed a definitive merger agreement with Schiff Nutrition International, a provider of branded vitamins, nutrition supplements and nutrition bars in the United State.
Schiff's board of directors has approved the transaction and will recommend that its stockholders tender their shares into Reckitt Benckiser's previously announced cash tender offer of $42 (2,540p) per share, valuing Schiff at $1.4 billion.
The tender offer will expire at 11:59pm New York City time on December 14, unless extended in accordance with the merger agreement.
The consumer goods company said it would finance the transaction with cash and existing credit facilities and added that the transaction was expected to be immediately earnings enhancing.

SABMiller booms despite European weakness

SABMiller (SAB) has defied the slowing beer market and posted strong results for the first half of the year.
The brewer was given a boost by growing sales in Latin America and Africa, and the acquisition of Australian beer manufacturer Fosters. This more than offset a weakening performance in Europe.
The results, which showed an 11% increase in sales to $17.5 billion (£11 billion), meant the firm was sitting top of the pile on the FTSE 100 on Thursday morning with a 5% gain.
EBITA climbed to $3.2 billion, excluding some items, compared to the $3.1 billion predicted by analysts.

Apple to reveal patent-sharing details

Apple (AAPL) has been ordered to tell Samsung the details of its patent-sharing deal with smartphone developer HTC.
Earlier in November, Apple and HTC signed a 10-year agreement to share developments, but kept the details to themselves.
In the ongoing tit-for-tat battle between Apple and its Korean rival, Samsung asked US courts to take action to force the disclosure of the details of the deal as it believed some of the patents shared are at the centre of the dispute.

UK markets: 09:00 update

Strong economic data from China helped to lift the FTSE 100 (UKX) towards a fourth straight day of gains. Manufacturing in the Asian giant returned to growth for the first time in 13 months and offered hope that the world's second-largest economy was returning to growth.

The benchmark index moved up 21 points to 5773.

SABMiller (SAB) led the FTSE 100 with a 4% rise after it revealed profit 12% ahead of a year ago. Severn Trent (SVT) lost 0.4%.

Over on AIM, Mercom Oil Sands (MMO) was in high spirits with a 21% gain, while Kibo Mining (KIBO) slumped 16%.

Leni Gas and Oil (LGO) was the most popular stock to buy on Interactive Investor after it announced it had completed a Trinidad farm-in.

Mike McCudden, head of derivatives at Interactive Investor, commented: "Strong manufacturing data from China provided a big enough lure to tempt investors back into equities this morning but many will choose to sit on the sidelines until they see some affirmative action on Greece.

"We have seen some steady support for the euro in the past 24 hours, with the general consensus being that although eurozone members may be at odds with the International Monetary Fund, a fix will be cobbled together in time."

US markets: Wednesday's close

As an uneasy peace descended on the Gaza Strip, investors on Wall Street started to dig deep, pushing the markets up.

The Nasdaq gained nine points to 2926, while the Dow Jones added 48 points to 12836. The S&P 500 moved up three points to 1391.

US markets will be closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving.

At a glance...

Asian marketsCurrenciesCommodities
Nikkei 225: 9366 ( 144)GBP/USD: 1.5973Gold: $1,729.80
Hang Seng: 21743 ( 218)GBP/EUR: 1.2419WTI crude oil: $87.52
Shanghai Composite: 2015 ( 14)EUR/USD: 1.2863 






08:00 - The FTSE 100 (UKX) opens at 5752.03.