Is Asos in play? On a quiet day for the markets, the online fashion retailer jumped almost 7 per cent in brisk trade as rumours percolated that a bid could be in the works.
Asos has fallen by 61 per cent so far this year, amid a profit warning, a warehouse fire and a slowdown in overseas expansion. But yesterday shares ticked up 166p to 2348p, thanks to a rumour that at least one major American firm is running the numbers on a deal. eBay is the name in the frame – the online giant has worked hard in recent years to cast itself as a legitimate retailer rather than simply an auction portal.
The FTSE 100 broke through the 6,800 mark for the first time since late July yesterday, buoyed by signals from central bankers Mario Draghi and Janet Yellen that market stimulus will continue. The blue-chip index climbed 47.51 points to 6,822.76 in thin trade.
The list of companies blaming the strong pound for hurting business grew, with office provider Regus the worst hit. The company slipped 17.5p to 179p after admitting pre-tax profit was flat at £31m in the first half. Ad giant WPP, up 17p at 1244p, also took a hit from converting cash back into sterling, as did Bunzl. But the supplier of catering equipment, cleaning products and packaging rose 9p to 1,639p thanks to a 5 per cent rise in pre-tax profit to £176.6m.
Punters are expecting good news from Petropavlovsk’s first-half numbers on Thursday, with the Russian gold miner yesterday jumping 1.75p to 36.25p.
Audio social network Audioboom revealed mounting losses in the five months to May of £2.1m, up from £519,000 a year earlier. But the company, which came to Aim in May through a reverse merger, added 0.62p to 9p as it announced a new partnership with Indian media group Essel and revealed registered users doubled in the year to August to 2.8 million.
Good news from Tunisia helped Circle Oil surge 5.12p to 22.87p on Aim. The fossil-fuel explorer confirmed it has found petroleum at its EMD-1 well, which began drilling in June, and said there are around 100 million barrels of oil recoverable from the site.