A 4 per cent increase in first half pre-tax profits was not enough to sustain the rise in Mitchells & Butlers shares this week with the restaurant and pub stock already about 20 per cent ahead this year.

Dealers sold after Tuesday’s announcement, which tempted non-executive director Edward Irwin to buy another 10,000 shares, having done the same six months ago when annual results were announced. At 364p, shares fell in the wake of that announcement only to rebound strongly with this week’s 450p trade. Stewart Gilliland bought at the same price last Thursday, making his first trade this week after two years as a non-executive.

Investors in Sage Group appeared willing to put their faith in Stephen Kelly last December as he appealed for patience in the move to a cloud strategy at the software group. Earnings that were well ahead of expectations helped, as did a £348,000 investment of his own money, which doubled his stake and was reported here at the time.

Six months on, that faith has been rewarded with higher interim revenues and a tie-up with US software house Salesforce, driving the shares to a 15-year high. The gains put Mr Kelly 22 per cent in profit on his December investment but he bought again last week, spending £250,000 on more shares.

Non-executive Jonathan Howell bought at 352p on joining the board two years ago, making little gain until Mr Kelly came on the scene last November. Mr Howell bought again at 583p on Tuesday.

Gains at Countrywide were met with a mixed response this week as veteran chairman Grenville Turner parted with two-thirds of his remaining stake, having also sold shares in March. Banking £5m over the pair of trades the disposal has not harmed the shares, which briefly traded above 600p this month, having dramatically crashed through that support level a year ago. Meanwhile Alison Platt, who joined the board last September when shares were in decline, bought for the first time, investing £248,000.

Simon Nixon continues to trim his stake in Moneysupermarket.com, having owned more than 50 per cent of the free float in September 2012. Two years ago the founder sold shares at 200p, banking more as the comparison website continued its expansion. His £56m disposal on Tuesday increased liquidity by bringing his stake below 13 per cent, helping the stock exceed 300p for the first time.

Directors deals — May 20 2015
Company nameSectorDeal dateAmountValue (£)No of dirHolding
BUY
Aew Uk ReitFinancial Serv.May 12 15475,000475,0003475,000
Amara MiningMiningMay 15 15271,24939,98211,559,985
Anglo Pacific GroupMiningMay 14 1590,20089,16135,569,826
Athelney TrustEquity Inv.May 15 156,00012,0601418,705
Barr (A G)BeveragesMay 19 1550,000312,6551196,367
Capital & RegionalReal EstateMay 14 15215,000121,4001401,646,474
China Chaintek United CoInd. TransportMay 20 153,203,5401,588,956242,928,861
Churchill MiningMiningMay 14 152,550,000175,000314,616,811
CountrywideReal EstateMay 15 1541,700248,324141,700
CRHConstr & MatsMay 12 152,60446,1755179,289
Damille Investments Ii LimitedEquity Inv.May 18 1561,62855,46621,914,836
Dillistone GroupSoftware & CompMay 14 15100,000106,5001803,254
Goldbridges Global ResourcesMiningMay 13 155,880,000164,64015,880,000
Grafton GroupSupport ServicesMay 14 157,60060,040115,600
ICAPFinancial Serv.May 19 1586,115478,1761109,455,659
Intu PropertiesREITsMay 13 15465,0001,579,1141301,160,452
Kaz MineralsMiningMay 13 1558,000150,5561111,000
KBC Advanced TechnologiesOil ServicesMay 13 15100,000105,75019,877,347
Metminco LimitedMiningMay 15 1530,085,06877,1246202,793,404
Mitchells & ButlersTravel & LeisureMay 14 1521,00094,499241,000
Parkmead GroupOil & Gas ProdMay 18 15137,499165,000319,153,296
Praetorian Resources LimitedFinancial Serv.May 20 154,000,000100,00017,471,000
President EnergyOil & Gas ProdMay 15 152,000,000235,000192,443,664
Sage GroupSoftware & CompMay 14 1564,367353,1402192,346
SchrodersFinancial Serv.May 12 157,100178,35215,930,042
Sound OilOil & Gas ProdMay 20 154,918,1571,180,358173,111,907
Symphony Environmental TechnologiesGen. IndustrialsMay 20 15501,00046,794525,964,165
Topps TilesGen. RetailersMay 20 151,000,0001,270,50011,748,585
TT ElectronicsElectrical EquipMay 15 1550,00076,7051100,000
SELL
Athelney TrustEquity Inv.May 15 1578,038156,85610
Capital & RegionalReal EstateMay 14 15439,862248,5221200,823,237
CountrywideReal EstateMay 15 15300,0001,786,5901171,524
DiplomaSupport ServicesMay 13 155,00039,7501Not Reported
GlencoreMiningMay 15 1527,974,35084,356,680159,331,558
Jardine Matheson Holdings LtdGen. IndustrialsMay 20 1552,0002,001,2861Not Reported
MoneySupermarket.comMediaMay 19 1520,000,00056,000,000169,795,130
Randgold Resources LtdMiningMay 15 1550,0002,425,9002808,760
SThreeSupport ServicesMay 20 15175,000672,32511,412,601
Value cut-off £38,500; Source: Directorsdeals.com

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