Market report: Marshall Motors accelerates away from post-Brexit reverse

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Investors in Marshall Motors put the pedal to the metal today as the car dealer showed signs of life after the Brexit vote, which caused its shares to slam into reverse.

The AIM-listed company said trading since 30 June, one week after the EU referendum, continued to show “positive like-for-like new unit sales growth”.

That followed a 31% surge in revenues in the first half to £826 million and a 34% jump in adjusted pre-tax profits to £14 million, driven by a 20% increase in new car sales, or 3.2%, in like-for-like terms once its £107 million takeover of Ridgeway Garages is stripped out.

Shares in the company accelerated 12p, or 8%, to 163.5p, but they still have another 20p to rise before returning to pre-Brexit levels.

The FTSE 100 retreated 23.71 points to 6917.48, ending the blue-chip index’s eight-day winning streak, though miners provided a bright spot as they dominated the Footsie leaderboard. 

Stronger industrial metals prices, along with better-than-expected profits from Antofagasta, helped Rio Tinto up 77.5p at 2513p and Glencore 5.25p higher to 198.25p.

Dealers kept themselves occupied with William Hill as the joint bid from 888 and Rank looks increasingly unlikely to come off.

Shares in the bookie fell 3.3p to 309.2p with several trades late in the day yesterday only settling this morning, hence the sharp drop when the market opened. The shares are cheaper than they were before the offer became public knowledge last month.

Passing judgment on the audacious bid today, Investec’s Alistair Ross said: “We think a higher bid price would be difficult to fund by new Bidco, and further leverage would be unlikely to be accepted by shareholders.”

Investors tucked into online takeaways firm Just Eat, up 8p at 599.5p, as broker Jefferies beefed up its profit forecasts for this year by 18% after what it called “a beast” of a first half.

Under-pressure oil services firm Wood Group put on 10p to 739.5p as its first-half results were as expected and after a $700 million contract in Kazakhstan.

Elsewhere, Earthport, the AIM cross-border payments firm hit by an alleged £5 million forex fraud this year, confirmed that its cash balance at the end of June was £14.4 million.

That includes the £5 million hit, which reassured investors and the penny stock improved 0.19p to 13.69p.

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August 16, 2016 |
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