Small-caps: Optical component maker off 17%

Gooch & Housego issued full year profit warning

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Gooch & Housego, which makes precision optical components, lost 17.2 per cent to 383¾p after it issued a full year profit warning as demand for its products suffered.

“As we seek to deliver sustainable long term growth through diversification into new markets we again find ourselves exposed to the cyclical nature of the industrial sector that last year helped us to achieve record results,” said Gareth Jones, Gooch’s chief executive.

The warning prompted a downgrade to “hold” from Investec Securities.

The broker said that while it “had assumed a weak first quarter, the expected pick up has largely failed to materialise... we downgrade our 2012 and 2013 earnings per share forecasts by 23 per cent and 21 per cent respectively”.

API Group, a specialist printer of foil laminates and holograms used in packaging, jumped 15.4 per cent to 50¾p after the activist fund Crystal Amber declared a maiden 7 per cent stake.

Kazakhstan-focused Max Petroleum slipped 5.3 per cent to 13½p after larger peer Zhaikmunai said there was “absolutely no truth” in rumours it may bid for Max. Speculation of interest from Zhaikmunai and hopes of positive drill results due in April had lifted Max by 29.6 per cent on Monday.

Avia Health Informatics rebounded by 51.4 per cent to 13¼p after it sealed a contract to provide software for an urgent care centre being built at West Middlesex university.

Avia had tumbled 25.5 per cent on Monday after confirming it was no longer considering a sale of the company. Even after Tuesday’s rally, the stock had lost 70 per cent of its value since August.

Pawnbroker, gold trader and retailer Albemarle & Bond fell 4.6 per cent to 355p after it revealed results which Peel Hunt described as “a bit of a curate’s egg”.

However, Peel Hunt remained positive on pawnbrokers generally, and Albemarle’s gold business in particular, and advised its clients to view any sell-off as a buying opportunity.

IT management services company Nexus jumped 15.4 per cent to 0.2p on better than expected results while Flying Brands advanced 7.9 per cent to 10¼p after agreeing the sale of its gift division to Interflora’s British arm for £2.4m.

Aim-quoted Touchstone Gold bounced 6.1 per cent to 19.6p on positive drilling results from its Rio Pescado Project in Colombia, which Northland Capital said is “the third gold zone that Touchstone has defined in three drilling campaigns at the project”.

Car retailer Pendragon fell 3.9 to 12½p even as its results came in broadly in line with expectations. Numis downgraded the stock to “hold” on valuation grounds.

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