Market Report: Halfords gained from a UK surge in cycling and cost cutting at the group

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The Independent Online

There were at least some punters who could tear themselves away from Twitter's initial public offering long enough to pump up cycling and car parts retailer Halfords' share price yesterday.

Its first-half profits jumped an unexpected 6.4 per cent to £44.6m and sales rose 7.7 per cent as a surge in cycling across the UK and cost cutting at the group paid off.

Investors were smitten and Halfords added 59.3p to 478p – finishing top of the mid-tier table.

The wider market was a bit choppy – the European Central Bank interest-rate cut to 0.25 per cent helped the market rally, but stronger-than-expected US GDP data then sent the FTSE 100 the other way and it finished the day down 44.47 points at 6,697.22.

Gold miner Randgold Resources' third-quarter update helped it top the index, up 280p to 4,885p.

Traders not busy with Twitter rehashed rumours about takeovers in the pharmaceutical sector, with AstraZeneca, down 26.5p at 3,272.5p, and Shire, down 46p at 2,784p, said to be eyeing US drugs group BioMarin Pharamaceutical. But there was speculation that Swiss group Roche would beat them to it.

Back on the mid-cap index, Cable & Wireless Communications was boosted by strong mobile business and dialled up a 1.77p gain to 48.27p.

Inmarsat's weak US business helped the satellite maker tumble 19p to 695p.

Gold miner Centamin's third-quarter update on Wednesday was accompanied by a share price fall, but yesterday it regained its sparkle and was 2.45p brighter at 50.75p.

US software-maker Autodesk is buying Birmingham-based Delcam for £172.5m. Engineer Renishaw owned around 1.5 million of its shares and ticked up 50p to 1,728p while Aim-listed Delcam jumped 350p to 2,065p.

The West African-focused gold miner Amara Mining agreed a deal with RDV Capital-backed mining group Amlib Holdings to raise $10m (£6.2m) and collected 1.25p to 14.5p.

Oil and gas explorer San Leon Energy, which is due to release a trading statement later this month, jetted 0.2p to 4.20p after a large seller of the stock had finally been cleared.