Market Report: Foundry's fortune is going volcanic

Steelmaker and foundry mould maker Cookson lived up to its new name today when it spurted up more than 9 per cent.

Cookson renamed itself the volcanic sounding Vesuvius in December when it split from its chemicals business which was renamed Alent.

The Cookson name goes back to 1704 when Isaac Cookson founded the business, but yesterday news it had smashed forecasts and stemmed losses meant it took the top spot on the mid cap index.

The maker of ceramic moulds and linings for metal foundries said profit was 39 per cent higher than the second half of 2012 and the sell-off of weaker businesses, including its precious metals processing arm and its solar business, meant it is now in a much better shape. It raised £47m from the over the past year sales.

Investec's scribblers said it was a "demonstration of what good housekeeping can do" and said it "would be hard to fault Vesuvius's first half results."

Although the market it operates in is still extremely tough Investec said it will "upgrade... [its] full year estimates."

Vesuvius jetted 40p to 480p.

In second place on the mid-tier table was car dealership group Inchcape following news it will return £100m to shareholders over the next year.

The share buyback, which Panmure Gordon analyst Michael Allen said was "a positive surprise", came along with a strong set of first-half results. The group, which runs dealerships under franchise for the likes of Audi, BMW, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz, reported pre-tax profit of £147m, up more than 10 per cent on the previous period, and was boosted by its purchase of Australian car group Trivett and its Asia and emerging markets business and the desire for luxury cars.

Investec analysts rated it a buy and raised their target price to 610p. But Allen was even more enthusiastic and raised his target to 675p. Inchcape accelerated 58p to 645p.

The FTSE 250 on Thursday broke the 15,000 mark for the first time and was up another 70.76 points to 15,131.97.

The benchmark index ended its current growth spurt and lost 34.11 points to 6,647.87

David Madden, market analyst at spreadbetter IG, said: "The London market got off to a good start but despite a huge jump in UK construction PMI traders cashed in their chips ahead of the lunchtime update from the US. The lower-than-forecasted headline figure pushed stocks further into the red and the realisation that unemployment dropped triggered monetary stimulus tapering fears."

British Airways-owner IAG was a flyer, up 10.5p to 306.7p, after it posted a €245 million (£214 million) operating profit in three months to July.

Oil, gas and mining services group Weir was up after a buy note from Berenberg Bank analysts. They pointed out that after 18 months of falling demand the engineer's management "called the bottom in North American pressure pumping" market which should mean good news for the group. Berenberg also think there is good news to come from its mining services business too and they rated it a buy with a 2,545p price target. The shares pumped up 36p to 2,239p.

Back on the mid-tier index, hedge fund Man Group was in focus. It revealed another $1.3bn (£860m) of funds walked out the door in the last quarter. But punters piled in as the City breathed a sigh of relief that the figure wasn't even worse.

Despite the bad news — this is the eighth consecutive quarter clients withdrew money — shares in Man soared more than 9 per cent. The business reported outflows from funds for the second quarter at $1.3bn, compared with $3.7bn in the first quarter. The rate of funds leaving the hedge fund has slowed and there were even signs that its restructuring plan is coming together under chief executive Manny Roman. Pre-tax profit came in at £122m during first half compared with £163m loss last year.

Man rose 7.95p to 91.5p.

Ocado founder Jason Gissing cashed in £3.3m of the online grocery group's shares – his first sale since the company floated at 180p a share three years ago. Mr Gissing, commercial director and like his two co-founders ex-Goldman Sachs, sold just over 1 million shares at 310.6p each. He and his family trusts still have just short of 18 million shares which equate to 2.9 per cent of the company. Ocado edged up 0.8p to 289.4p.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
News
Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
peopleDirector of new documentary Misery Loves Comedy reveals how he got them to open up
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday's big match
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Environment
Dame Vivienne Westwood speaking at a fracking protest outside Parliament on Monday (AP)
environment
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Report Writer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...

MBDA UK Ltd: Indirect Procurement Category Manager

Competitive salary & benefits!: MBDA UK Ltd: MBDA UK LTD Indirect Procurement...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£16500 - £16640 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Finance compa...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness