JD Sports was a strong riser on Wednesday following reports the company is planning to expand overseas amid its recent chain of acquisitions. Its Chief Executive, Barry Brown, was quoted by Retail Week as saying: 'The opportunity is big especially in France and Germany. There are lots of markets we're not in where we want to be. We're continually approached by other retailers who want to be associated with us or do a joint venture.'
On Tuesday the group had posted a 5% rise in annual pre-tax profit to £57.8m as sales in its core Sports fascias delivered record results in the UK and Ireland. Revenue increased 5.7% to £1.3bn in the year to February 1st, as like-for-like retail sales in the UK and Ireland rose 6.5%. Operating profit advanced 5.5% to £59m.
Comments from JPMorgan Cazenove gave consumer packaging group DS Smith a boost on Wednesday, saying that the recent de-rating of the stock has created an opportunity for investors ahead of a trading update later this month. JPMorgan reiterated its 'overweight' recommendation and 355p target price for the stock. Since the start of February, DS Smith's share price has fallen by 6.7%, underperforming its peers, and it now trades at similar valuation multiples to others in the sector. "Yet, in our opinion, deserves a premium on account of its lower cyclicality and lower capital intensity," the bank said.
Russian steel group Evraz said output declined in the first quarter, but shares
rose on the news prices have begun to pick up towards the end of the period.
Industrial printing group Xaar was also in positive territory in spite of confirming first-quarter sales and profits had fallen to their normal seasonal level compared to the abnormally high level last year. Operating margins were also lower, as expected, due to the group's investment in expanding capacity at its Huntingdon plant and continued investment in R&D.
Meanwhile, the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Lancashire Holdings, Richard Brindle, has revealed his plans to retire from the group at the end of April, pushing shares firmly into the red. His role will be filled by Alex Maloney, the current Chief Underwriting Officer and CEO of the group's operating subsidiary in the UK, who will in turn be replaced by Paul Gregory, the Chief Underwriting Officer of Lancashire Insurance Company (UK).
Energy services group Hunting fell after it said trading in the first quarter was slower than expected due to poor weather in North America and project delays in Asia Pacific.
FTSE 250 - Risers
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 446.10p +4.82%
Britvic (BVIC) 709.50p +4.65%
Enterprise Inns (ETI) 139.10p +4.43%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 1,669.00p +4.31%
Greencore Group (GNC) 256.10p +4.28%
Big Yellow Group (BYG) 520.00p +4.21%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 314.50p +4.07%
Dixons Retail (DXNS) 45.80p +4.02%
Marston's (MARS) 149.40p +3.89%
Homeserve (HSV) 328.70p +3.79%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Amlin (AML) 443.20p -4.85%
Lancashire Holdings Limited (LRE) 679.50p -3.21%
COLT Group SA (COLT) 144.10p -2.96%
BH Global Ltd. USD Shares (BHGU) 11.7 -2.01%
Alent (ALNT) 305.80p -1.64%
Serco Group (SRP) 406.80p -1.43%
Phoenix Group Holdings (DI) (PHNX) 640.00p -1.31%
Betfair Group (BET) 1,000.00p -1.28%
Genus (GNS) 1,000.00p -1.19%
BH Global Ltd. GBP
Shares (BHGG) 1,199.00p -1.07%