Market Report: Asos rallies - but investors expect the worse


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The Independent Online

If the City is right, Asos’ troubles could be behind it. The online fashion revealed a 14 per cent fall in full-year profits last week, blighted by the strong sterling and a warehouse fire. But shares still rallied, with investors expecting worse.

News yesterday that profits at private rival Shop Direct have risen sixfold saw Asos rocket even higher. Continued swirling rumours that the likes of Amazon or eBay could be interested in a bid and Asos leapt 263p to 2390p.

The FTSE 100 was at a low ebb, with volumes at their lowest for a week. Trustnet Direct’s Tony Cross said: “Traders remain very much focused on [today’s] monetary policy verdict from the US Federal Reserve. The blue-chip index is sitting around the 6,400 level once again – there’s a feeling that this is very much in the comfort zone.” The Footsie added 38.71 points to 6402.17.

Vodafone rose 5.85p to 203.55p amid chatter that it could be eying a bid for rival telecoms operator TalkTalk, 4p better at 288.8p.

Paint chemical supplier Synthomer tumbled 13.4p to 199.4p on the mid-cap index after a profit warning. The group admitted rising sales in Asia are being offset by a slowdown elsewhere.

Security consultancy Falanx has been down and out of late, falling from a high of 60p in August to a 28p at the start of the week. But things turned around yesterday as investors cheered progress in cyber security. The division has won its first UK government contract, with more expected, and its outsourced cyber security for SMEs goes live at the end of the month. Falanx jumped 4.5p to 32.5p.

Since announcing last week that its health and fitness monitoring gadgets are to be stocked by Sainsbury’s and Target, Fitbug has become a message board favourite and attracted the attentions of notorious bear raider Simon “Evil Knievel” Cawkwell. The share price has been yo-yoing but yesterday it added 2.32p to 6.22p.

Tiddler electronic materials group Ilika was buoyed 11.5p to 96.5p by news that Meggit’s Keith Jackson is joining the board as a non-exec. The company also revealed it has started succession planning after chairman Jack Boyer signalled he is to step down.