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London midday: Kazakhmys chairman sells 11%

Date: Tuesday 05 Oct 2010

London midday: Kazakhmys chairman sells 11%

Footsie clung on to modest gains throughout the morning session but trading volumes have been light, with investors keeping their powder dry ahead of Thursday’s announcement from the Bank of England about quantitative easing.

Sentiment was given a boost by reports of growth in activity in the services sector in September. The Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index rose to 52.8 from 51.3 in August. Analysts had been expecting it to slip to 51. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

Travel firm TUI Travel leads the market higher after it allayed fears about full year trading by saying it is confident results will be in line with previous guidance. Summer holiday bookings in the year to September 26 were up, year on year, in all regions except the Netherlands, which showed a 2% fall. Gains per region were as follows: UK +2%; Nordic region +17%; Germany +5%; France +11%; Belgium +4%.

Supermarket giant Tesco's first half profits surged 12% despite sluggish underlying sales in the UK. Pre-tax profits rose to £1.6bn in the half year to August on sales up 8.3% to £32.9bn including VAT. All regions saw an improved trading performance in the second quarter over the first, Tesco said. Group sales increased by 8.8% over the latest three months.

Satellite broadcaster Inmarsat is the worst performer after Harbinger Capital last night confirmed plans to sell nearly half of its stake. Share sale news is also hitting mining giant Kazakhmys; the company said that its chairman Vladimir Kim, has sold an interest in 58.9m shares, representing around 11% of the shares in issue. The shares were purchased by National Welfare Fund Samruk-Kazyna JSC.

Cranswick has had a “positive” first half, with turnover up 8% at the meat supplier, or 12% adjusted for the sale of its cooked meats business.

Elsewhere in foods, Northern Foods returned to sales growth in the second quarter as chilled foods and bakery did well, offsetting the ongoing problems with its Goodfella's frozen pizza business. Like-for-like sales in the 26 weeks to September increased by 3.0% reflecting a 7.1% second quarter improvement as chilled foods rose sales by 16.4% and bakery sales jumped 10.9%.

Optical components maker Gooch & Housego said results for the year ended 30 September 2010 will be comfortably ahead of market expectations as it ramped up output to meet increased demand.

Stobart Group’s fleet of distinctive green lorries will be delivering soft drinks around the UK after it won a “multi-million pound” contract with Britvic.

Haynes Publishing is stuck firmly in reverse, hitting an eight-month low, after the car repair manuals firm said first quarter revenue had fallen sharply in the UK.

Print and marketing services group St. Ives said underlying full year profit doubled as it slashed debt. Underlying profit before tax bounced to £14.4m for the 52 weeks ended 30 July 2010 from £7.3m the year before. Revenue for the period declined to £362.3m from £386.8m previously. Net debt was cut to £2.7m from £19m in 2009.

FTSE 100 - Risers
TUI Travel (TT.) 226.80p +4.61%
Man Group (EMG) 224.50p +3.17%
Reed Elsevier (REL) 542.50p +2.65%
British Airways (BAY) 245.00p +2.47%
Centrica (CNA) 327.20p +1.65%
National Grid (NG.) 560.50p +1.26%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,323.00p +1.22%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,281.00p +1.18%
Anglo American (AAL) 2,567.50p +1.16%
Serco Group (SRP) 603.00p +1.01%

FTSE 100 - Fallers
Inmarsat (ISAT) 630.00p -3.82%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 1,386.00p -2.60%
Eurasian Natural Resources (ENRC) 900.00p -1.59%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,013.00p -1.27%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,651.00p -1.20%
Prudential (PRU) 628.00p -1.18%
Capita Group (CPI) 776.00p -1.15%
Amec (AMEC) 987.00p -1.15%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,210.00p -1.14%
Standard Life (SL.) 225.00p -1.14%

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