FTSE 250 movers: Sophos surges, Just Group slides
London's FTSE 250 was up 0.59% at 19,484.51 in afternoon trade on Thursday, with Sophos leading the index upward.
The increase came as the cyber security group’s full-year results beat expectations following a string of disappointing updates, with revenue rising from $639m to $710.6m, 1% ahead of forecasts.
Nicholas Hyett, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "Having been caught out repeatedly last year with over-optimistic forecasts, a better than guided performance in the final quarter goes some way to patching up the group’s damaged credibility. Full rehabilitation is some way off, but this is the first step on the road.”
Genus surged as the animal genetics company announced a strategic porcine collaboration in China, the world's largest pork market.
Premier Oil's shares jumped after the oiler upgraded its full-year production guidance as a strong improvement from operations in the UK drove expectations higher, leading Berenberg analysts to up the stock's target price from 120p to 130p.
Funding Circle climbed after analysts at HSBC initiated coverage of the stock with a 'buy' rating and a target price of 310p, while Investec was also on the way up after it posted a 9.4% jump in full-year adjusted operating profit as it said the demerger of the asset management business was on track.
On the other side of the coin, Just Group led the fallers as it reported a 55% drop in first-quarter new business sales as retirement income slumped.
Analysts at Shore Capital said: "Just has had several well publicised issues over the last few years that have had significant impacts on the share price, but the underlying business remains one ideally placed for strong growth in bulk annuities and lifetime mortgages over the coming years. The new acting CEO is clearly not waiting around to implement changes. These should be good for the long-term performance but could see further fluctuations at the quarterly updates."
Ex-dividends also took their toll, with Saga, Inchcape, Vivo Energy and Hochschild Mining all falling.
Euromoney Institutional Investor was lower as its interim pre-tax profits fell 59% to £49.3m due to a gain on the sale of its Dealogic stake in 2017 that lifted the previous year's figures, while Pennon dropped as Deutsche Bank analysts cut the stock's price target from 790p to 780p.
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,484.51 0.59%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Sophos Group (SOPH) 391.70p 15.21%
Genus (GNS) 2,886.00p 14.16%
Premier Oil (PMO) 97.70p 8.12%
Funding Circle Holdings (FCH) 266.00p 7.91%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 166.60p 5.04%
Investec (INVP) 504.80p 4.88%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 870.00p 4.45%
Essentra (ESNT) 416.80p 3.73%
TP ICAP (TCAP) 282.90p 3.44%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 225.20p 3.30%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Just Group (JUST) 60.00p -7.55%
Saga (SAGA) 53.10p -4.84%
Restaurant Group (RTN) 129.90p -3.64%
Inchcape (INCH) 571.50p -3.63%
Sirius Minerals (SXX) 16.49p -3.57%
Vivo Energy (VVO) 116.20p -3.49%
Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 1,368.00p -3.12%
Pennon Group (PNN) 706.40p -2.75%
CYBG (CYBG) 192.40p -2.61%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 167.20p -2.22%