A Sheffield business park wedged between the bus and railway station might be a long way from sun-drenched Silicon Valley but for technology investors it could be just as important. The strangely named AIM-listed WANDisco was London's sole technology IPO of 2012.
Yesterday it released its maiden results, and despite the fact that it's still loss-making, punters liked what they saw, and the shares booked gains of more than 16 per cent – up 50p to 360p – double its float price of 180p.
Scribes at Panmure Gordon liked WANDisco's focus on investment in big data – a way for users to store large amounts of data on multiple servers – and gave it a Buy rating. The software developer, which stands for Wide Area Network Distributed Computing, has been closely watched by technology investors as a rare example of a company that opted for London and not Nasdaq.
Traders hope more will follow, particularly after last week's announcement that listing rules will be relaxed on the London Stock Exchange to attract more technology-focused companies away from the US. The Government said changes will include reducing the free float requirement to 10 per cent, from 25 per cent.
Over in the City, traders and investors had apparently relaxed again, after an escalation in the eurozone crisis caused widespread panic the day before. On Wednesday investors ran for the hills but yesterday caution was thrown to the wind as China's central bank announced plans to inject a record amount of cash into the money markets. Riskier stocks blossomed and miners raced back up the blue-chip index as it attempted to recover some of the previous day's losses. The FTSE 100 moved up 11.33 points to 5779.42.
The engineering group Melrose, a recent entrant into the top-flight index, soared to the top, up 6.5p to 245.7p, and the miner Evraz gained 6.3p to 244.5p as the second-biggest riser.
Sit down, keep calm and focus. Shire's settlement with rivals over drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder this month means it is time to start buying the pharmaceutical giant's shares, according to City scribblers. Jefferies thinks that now there are fewer uncertainties for the "important ADHD franchise" and its pipeline of new drugs is "warming up", it is time to pile into the stock. It ups the shares from Hold to Buy, with a price target of 2,400p.
Updates on the first phase of results to treat rare genetic diseases, Hunter and Sanfilippo syndromes, and plans for phase three of Vyvanse trials for schizophrenia and eating disorders will help Shire's "longer-term organic growth prospects", says the broker. Hopes of a takeover earlier this year have disappeared, but the upgrade from Jefferies still accompanied a share price rise of 10p to 1,805p.
Splenda sweetener-maker Tate & Lyle is finding Europe rather bitter, with trade tough in the region but investors had a sweet tooth, and its solid growth in the US and emerging markets helped shares rise 15.5p to 670p.
A UBS note on the oil and gas sector highlights BG Group as one of its picks with a price target of 1,620p. But BG's shares edged down 1.5p to 1,250p. UBS said "oil leverage will continue to generate value".
The telecoms giant Vodafone admitted its £1.04bn Cable & Wireless Worldwide buy will dial up around £500m in costs by March 2016 as it combines networks and customers. But combined cashflows will grow by £150m to £200m a year in the period. Shares dipped 0.5p to 176.9p.
On the mid-cap index, Canaccord Genuity started coverage of shares in fund manager F&C Asset Management and rated them a Buy with a price target of 111p. The shares managed a 2.75p rise to 97.75p — a three year high for the stock. Welcome news for activist investor and chairman Edward Bramson.
To bring optimists down to earth, Société Gé*érale's bearish analyst Albert Edwards stepped up his doom-mongering in his latest Global Strategy Weekly. He is "lowering equity weighting to 30 per cent – the minimum possible" – and said "the last time I did this was May 8, 2008. The Fed is pursuing the same road to ruin as it did between 2003-7. I'm becoming more and more convinced that, Gloom, Boom, & Doom's Marc Faber is right when he said that the Fed will destroy the world."
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