Date: Thursday 16 Jun 2011
Stocks are firmly under the cosh still as worries over the situation in Greece continue.
Greek prime minister George Papandreou is to seek a vote of confidence in the Greek parliament today, as talks about a much needed rescue package from the EU continue to drag on.
Despite all the worries though, today’s main talking point in stocks news is Laird, which jumped after the electronic components manufacturer rejected an all-cash 185p-a-share takeover proposal from US rival Cooper Industries.
Laird makes antennae for mobile phones and other telecommunications-related electronic products. Cooper, which employs 2,100 people in the UK, hopes to combine Laird with its Bussman Division.
Here, electrical components distributor Premier Farnell slumps despite a seemingly bullish update. The Leeds-based company, which operates around the world, posted a pre-tax profit (adjusted to take account of a disposal) of £24.1m in the quarter to the end of April, up from £21.4m over the same period the previous year. Revenues climbed to £252.5m from £244.9m. Though sales grew above the group's targeted range of 6%-8, the overall results were marred by a 3.7% fall in sales in the company's Asia-Pacific region.
Plant hire group Ashtead is down even after it reported full year pre-tax profit in line with expectations and said it is confident demand for rentals will provide further growth. Pre-tax profit rose to £31m for the year to the end of April compared to £5m in 2010, after a 10% increase in revenue from US rental operations. Analysts had predicted pre-tax profit of £30.7m.
Budget airline easyJet is to start operating flights from Southend Airport in Essex next year, the airport’s owner, logistics firm Stobart, has announced. Shares in Stobart are among the highest flyers in the FTSE 250.
Design and engineering consultancy WS Atkins topped revenue and profit expectations in what it described as a transformational year for the company. Revenue in the year ended 31 March rose 12.7% to £1,564m from £1,388m the year before, marginally ahead of market consensus of £1.558m. Underlying profit before tax climbed 9.4% to £102.7m from £93.9m a year earlier. The market had been expecting a figure of around £96.14m.
Power systems behemoth Rolls-Royce has won orders worth more than £100m from a range of ship yards in Asia to provide propulsion systems for offshore construction and drilling vessels.
Turning to smaller companies, fancy bags group Mulberry is in demand after profits soared in the year to 31 March.
Beleaguered care home operator Southern Cross has perked up after it said it made a breakthrough in its fight for survival after cutting a deal with its lenders and landlords. The company and the landlords will work towards a consensual solution to the company's current financial problems which will be delivered over the next four months, a company statement said.
FTSE 100 - Risers
WPP (WPP) 741.50p +0.34%
Capital Shopping Centres Group (CSCG) 386.60p -0.05%
Capita Group (CPI) 739.00p -0.07%
National Grid (NG.) 590.00p -0.08%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,554.00p -0.16%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 597.50p -0.17%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 839.50p -0.24%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 832.00p -0.24%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 607.00p -0.26%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 159.15p -0.31%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
GKN (GKN) 198.30p -4.89%
Lonmin (LMI) 1,383.00p -3.35%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 1,151.00p -3.11%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 1,243.00p -3.04%
Autonomy Corporation (AU.) 1,695.00p -2.92%
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 724.00p -2.69%
IMI (IMI) 1,003.00p -2.62%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 562.00p -2.60%
Anglo American (AAL) 2,789.50p -2.58%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,851.00p -2.42%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Laird (LRD) 192.00p +39.84%
Stobart Group Ltd. (STOB) 138.50p +0.95%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 2,755.00p +0.88%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 619.00p +0.65%
BH Global Ltd. GBP Shares (BHGG) 1,105.00p +0.45%
AG Barr (BAG) 1,331.00p +0.45%
Invensys (ISYS) 307.50p +0.36%
RIT Capital Partners (RCP) 1,297.00p +0.31%
Kier Group (KIE) 1,308.00p +0.23%
Computacenter (CCC) 451.00p +0.22%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Ashtead Group (AHT) 160.00p -10.11%
Premier Farnell (PFL) 250.00p -8.96%
Dixons Retail (DXNS) 16.35p -6.52%
Atkins (WS) (ATK) 756.00p -6.09%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 400.10p -5.90%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 870.00p -5.84%
Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 134.00p -5.37%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 46.11p -4.83%
Jupiter Fund Management (JUP) 255.00p -4.74%
Electrocomponents (ECM) 274.10p -4.43%
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