FTSE 250 movers: Kaz and Ocado lead gains
(ShareCast News) - The FTSE 250 index was in positive territory on Tuesday afternoon, led by a copper miner and a couple of stocks benefiting from takeover rumours.
Copper miner Kaz Minerals led the gains, as the red metal continued to climb on the back of Monday's comments from China over the $78bn that it plans to commit to infrastructure-related projects.
A day ahead of its results, housebuilder Countryside Properties was given an initial 'buy' recommendation from analysts at Berenberg, which expected management to announce plans to ramp up the business.
The key to the investment thesis was that the homebuilder already had the landbank, pipeline and capital in place for a larger business, while its partnership arm, which works with local authorities to regenerate public land, is set to benefit from the growing need for social housing.
Ocado was once again highlighted by Goldman Sachs as being a likely target for an acquisition. Ocado, which is 'buy' rated by the bank, was ranked second among the companies on its 'conviction buy' list across all its European coverage, ranked by upside to price target, just ahead of Babcock and Just Eat.
Ascential was also highlighted by Goldman even higher than Ocado on another list detailing 'conviction buy'-rated names with its highest M&A rank, which indicates a 30%-50% probability of a company being a target.
Leading the fallers was specialist healthcare company BTG reported a drop in full-year pre-tax profit on Tuesday as it said translation benefits from a weaker sterling were offset by hedging losses on forward contracts.
For the year to the end of March, the company made a pre-tax profit of £31.6m versus £57.5m the year before, despite revenue rising to £570.5m from £447.5m. Management said it expects to deliver continued double-digit product sales growth beyond 2017/18, with analysts at Jefferies saying the "FY 2018 outlook is light and taxing".
CYBG, the holding company for Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank, posted interim results where total operating income increased 1% to £497m while adjusted profit before tax increased 15% to £123m, which was around 6% short of the consensus forecast.
Loan and deposit growth were both worse than expected, said analyst Nicholas Hyett at Hargreaves Lansdown. "Money in fixed rate term deposits and variable rate savings accounts have both slipped as the group looks to clear higher rate legacy products. That's sensible in itself, but customers looking elsewhere for a home for their money isn't great news in a business which is heavily focussed on growth."
Housebuilder Crest Nicholson was lower despite reporting trading in line with expectations and that it is on track to deliver revenue growth of around 10% for the year to the end of October 2017.
Average selling prices were up 12% in the six months to the end of April from the same period a year ago at £418,000, though unit completions for the first half were 150 lower than the comparative period, mainly due to a reduced first-half weighting from the timing of private rental sector completions.
Broker Canccord noted that Crest shares, having bounced strongly since the middle of November and the best performing stock in the year to date in the sector, the valuation was "up with events".
FTSE 250 - Risers
Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 490.10p 5.94%
Countryside Properties (CSP) 292.30p 5.18%
Ascential (ASCL) 354.30p 4.79%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 277.10p 4.72%
Hill & Smith Holdings (HILS) 1,375.00p 4.32%
NMC Health (NMC) 2,164.00p 3.79%
Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH) 1,837.00p 3.20%
TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 175.80p 2.93%
Cobham (COB) 135.80p 2.88%
Virgin Money Holdings (UK) (VM.) 307.70p 2.64%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
BTG (BTG) 670.50p -7.13%
CYBG (CYBG) 278.60p -3.96%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 616.00p -3.22%
Ted Baker (TED) 2,517.00p -2.86%
Henderson Group (HGG) 237.50p -2.46%
Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 1,899.00p -2.26%
Phoenix Group Holdings (DI) (PHNX) 747.50p -1.25%
Close Brothers Group (CBG) 1,627.00p -0.97%
Aldermore Group (ALD) 254.90p -0.93%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 301.80p -0.92%