Nothing like a disaster at sea to put people off booking a cruise. The deadly accident in January that befell those on board the Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy steered potential cruise goers to safer shores for months. Last month, the cruise operator Carnival reported stronger-than-expected quarterly results which showed signs that punters were regaining their sea legs. Yesterday, US rival Royal Caribbean raised its full-year forecast.
The news was enough to propel Carnival's shares to the top of the benchmark index. The Carnival, Princess and Holland America Cruises group saw its shares float up 74p to 2,505p into calmer waters. The hope seems to be that the Costa Concordia disaster is now so much water under the bridge.
James Bond's latest flick couldn't come sooner for avid fans. But for cinema operators, desperate for a hit, it could be too late.
Panmure Gordon reckons Mr Bond's belated appearance won't be able to help the likes of Cineworld turn around its weak performance.
As film enthusiasts queue to see Daniel Craig in action, Panmure's Simon French and Lindsey Kerrigan reckon that, although Skyfall's release today will boost trade "it leaves a very short space of time for admissions to play catch-up on the relative underperformance over the past three months".
The analysts think shareholders would be better off buying a ticket for Skyfall and selling their Cineworld shares, and they reiterated their 220p target share price.
UK box-office revenues for the summer came in at £55.1m, down 19 per cent from last year, and September admissions were down 17.8 per cent.
Cineworld, which is currently coping with the aftermath of a gaffe where children in Nottingham found themselves watching the beginning of horror film Paranormal Activity 4 instead of Madagascar 3 this week, saw its shares lose 0.75p to 248.25p.
One City fund manager, already looking forward to a spot of cinema action at the weekend, reckoned the Bond movie will be a boost for FTSE 250-listed Restaurant Group. The Frankie & Benny's and Garfunkels owner has strategically placed restaurants on retail parks up and down the country, often close to cinemas. The families who flock to check out the Sam Mendes version of the super spy adventure, might fancy a Frankie & Benny's burger or pizza afterward. Its shares gobbled up 6.7p to 383.2p.
Are the old ones always the best? Erstwhile takeover rumours resurfaced at hedge fund Man Group and publisher and events business Informa. Man put on 3p to 80.05p while Informa gained 3.9p to 395.1p.
The blue-chip index continued its upward trajectory and hurried higher on news that we are out of the double-dip recession – the UK economy has returned to growth in the third quarter according to the Office for National Statistics' GDP figures. But the FTSE 100 failed to hang on to all its gains and ended up just 0.27 to 5,805.05.
Financial stocks were lifted by the economic news, but Mexican gold and silver miner Fresnillo was buoyed to second place on the leaderboard after it announced its $500m (£310m) San Juliá* silver project had been approved. This means commercial production will start by the second half of 2014 and should help the company reach its target of 65 million ounces of silver a year by 2018. Its shares rocketed up 41p to 1,930p.
On the mid-cap index, the deal between online poker group Bwin.party Digital Entertainment and social-gaming group Zynga was seen as a good bet by Panmure Gordon. It gave the shares a buy rating and said although the deal "feels more beneficial for Zynga than Bwin.party… it should provide incremental player liquidity and could lead to other agreements". The broker gave Bwin's shares a 165p target price and it ticked up 7.9p to 125.5p.
China National Gold is said to be moving closer to making a formal offer for Barrick Gold's 74 per cent stake in the FTSE 250-listed African arm. A deal is yet to be announced and shares in African Barrick Gold fell 4.9p to 481.5p.
Punch Taverns, the pub group, conceded on Wednesday that it will face bankruptcy unless it agrees a deal with the owners of its £2.4bn debt. The shares lost 0.4p to 6.15p.
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