Market Report: Clarksons in full sail after it steers through rough waters

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Investors have applauded Clarksons for navigating its way through a choppy 2016 as the shipping firm blew analyst forecasts out of the water.

Shares in the FTSE 250 firm rose 213.2p, or 10.5%, to 2248.2p as underlying pre-tax profits, despite falling, were better than expected in the first six months of the year at £21.8 million.

The company, which is operating in what Clarksons boss Andi Case described as “the most challenging rate environment seen in many years”, managed to nudge revenues up from £145.3 million to £147.2 million and held the dividend at 22p per share.

The results impressed Colin Smith at Panmure Gordon, who said profits were around 10% higher than he had anticipated and was confident the group would be able to improve on the 2015 dividend this year.

Gerald Khoo, an analyst at Liberum, suggests that the market downturn will eventually force weaker firms to consolidate, to Clarksons’ benefit.

London’s top tier index, the FTSE 100, continued its winning streak, strengthening by 24.28 points to 6940.30, with higher oil prices lifting supermajors Royal Dutch Shell, 28.5p richer at 2030.5p, and BP, up 2.5p at 435.2p.

Tipped over the weekend to split from its South African mining operations amid pressure from the Public Investment Corporation, Anglo American was 16.2p better off at 873.1p.

There was no sign of investors taking big profits off the table at Frankie & Benny’s owner The Restaurant Group on the back of Friday’s management shake-up-inspired surge. The shares were down just 1.3p to 416.4p as broker Cannacord suggested private equity suitors would “likely not lose interest until the share price has recovered”.

Analysts at investment bank Citi convinced investors to pile into beleaguered Foxtons as it upgraded the London estate agent to buy, boosting the shares by 4.63p to 118.63p. 

Mike Ashley’s tracksuits and trainers retailer Sports Direct, 6.8p cheaper at 302p, cut its stake in rival JD Sports again, this time to below 3%. Shares in JD, which have surged 50% in 12 months, retreated 2p to 1313p. 


Stake cut: Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley (Sports Direct)

Finally, junior miners have taken a pounding in the downturn, but Australia’s Aura Energy, a uranium miner with projects in Mauritania and Sweden, is to dual-list on AIM.

It follows in the footsteps of rare earths explorer Mkango Resources, which became the first new mining listing in London in more than a year when it joined the junior market in June.

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August 15, 2016 |
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