Some of the market’s sharpest professionals – Paul Roy and his friends at NewSmith Capital – seem to have missed out on some big bucks at Cenkos. NewSmith sold most of its 16 per cent holding at the float only to see the broker’s shares shoot up on their Aim debut this morning from the 140½p placement price to 196p – a jump of 40 per cent. But this makes no sense: these guys are nobody’s fools. And Paul Roy is staying on the Cenkos board. Anyway, if you had tears and were preparing to shed them, bear in mind that, according to FT Alphaville, they had made their money back 10-fold at the float price. We need to firm up some of these details during the day.
Matalan has reported a 6.5 per cent fall in first-half profits, which would be a bit academic as these are the retailer’s final results before returning to private ownership – except that the group has passed on its 2.9p interim dividend. Opinions are divided on whether this was expected or not, so this story still needs a bit of work.
Friends Provident shares are motoring after the group produced a much better than expected 40 per cent rise in Q3 life and pensions new business. Dreadful figures, though, from F&C Asset Management, which still looks to be in a real mess.
Tomkins, the UK engineering group, has become the latest company to suffer from its exposure to the US economy. It was hit twice in the third quarter as the crisis in North American carmaking compounded the effect of reduced housebuilding activity.
Mike Ashley has drawn up plans to reverse his Sports World chain - which owns Lilywhites - into Blacks Leisure, The Telegraph reports. The plan apparently would see Blacks Leisure retain its quote and Mr Ashley appointed chief executive or chairman of the merged group, in which he would be the major shareholder. It seems amazing that someone as private as Mr Ashley would want to be that high-profile, but you never know. Mr Ashley has built up a stake of just over 29 per cent in the troubled retailer. Its shares were up only a touch this morning and there has been no announcement yet.
Imperial Tobacco, the world’s fourth-biggest cigarette company, says full-year pre-tax profits rose 8 per cent, boosted by strong performance across nearly all of its markets. And RHM says it is feeling the effect of higher flour prices.
Rumour of the Day: Not a very strong one this, but Gallaher shares are up 2 per cent on rumours of a bid from Japan Tobacco or Altria.