Market Report: Laird gets City approval after its strategy update

 

Apple's disappointing update this week sent shares in most of its suppliers tumbling, but smartphone parts maker Laird got City approval after its strategy update yesterday.

Weaker-than-expected iPhone shipments at Apple pushed smartphone microchip designer ARM down 13p to 944.5p. But Laird's update to analysts and investors yesterday demonstrated its management is optimistic about iPhone sales in China.

Laird also plans to continue to diversify its customer base and increase its Asian smartphone and tablet customers to become less reliant on Apple – which made up 19 per cent of its sales in 2012.

Joint broker Espirito Santo rated it a buy after yesterday's presentation with a 325p price target and Laird jumped 12.4p to 308.9p.

The wider market recovered after five consecutive days of losses and advanced 21.67 points to 6,572.33.

Concerns about emerging-market currencies remained and there is trepidation about today's Federal Open Market Committee statement in the US. So defensive stocks remained in favour and Severn Trent was up 78p to 1,778p.

Cruise-ship operator Royal Caribbean's fourth-quarter results were better than expected on Monday in the US and it forecast strong 2014 profit growth as more people signed up for a holiday afloat. In response, Carnival sailed up 70p to 2,548p and an upgrade from analysts at Numis helped.

Housebuilder Crest Nicholson posted a 40 per cent rise in full-year, pre-tax profit and said dividend payouts would reach more than £16m. It advanced 2.8p to 355p.

Estate agent Foxtons is also continuing to benefit from the housing boom and collected 12.6p to 337.2p.

AIM-listed Ilika dialled up a 3.25p gain to 44.25p after positive news on tests for longer-lasting and faster-charging mobile-phone batteries.

Gem Diamonds' strong, fourth-quarter trading update helped it 4.75p brighter at 157.75p.

Stellar Diamonds was 0.3p better at 1.67p as investors continued to anticipate strong sampling results from its Sierra Leone project ahead of next month.

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