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Today’s market overview

Equities have retraced most of Friday’s losses in early trading and The Trader Dominic Picarda is confident that the rally is intact.

IC TIP UPDATES:

Simon Thompson recommendation Noble Investments (NBL) has moved to reassure investors that trading remains in line with expectation after recent falls in its share price. Furthermore, the company says it has reached an agreement over the recovery of fees owed by a Qatari collector, which should happen before the announcement of results for the year to end-August.

Altona Energy (ANR) says it has completed a feasibility study on its Ackaringa coal resources in South Australia with a view to building a coal-to-methanol project rather then the originally envisaged coal to liquids and power project which the company is still working on with China’s CNOOC. Our recommendation is under review.

KEY STORIES:

Serco (SRP) has been awarded a $115m one year contract by the United States Department of Health and Human Services to provide processing support to the applications for health plans. The deal carries with it four further one year options.

Balfour Beatty (BBY) has been appointed preferred bidder on a student accommodation scheme in Florida which will have a completed value of £330m.

Half year results from Morgan Sindall (MGNS) reflect the tough end markets in which it operates. Revenues edged up by 2 per cent, and the order book by just 1 per cent, but profits fell by more than 20 per cent as the company had to take some exceptional costs against old construction contracts.

Ultra Electronics (ULE) posted a steady performance for the opening half of the year with revenues flat at £367.7m but underlying profits creeping up by 1 per cent to £57.9m. Management reported that it expects a stronger second half and is in the running for a number of sizeable contracts, but their timing is uncertain.

Self storage specialist Lok ‘n’ Store (LOK) says its financial year to July ended strongly with record move-ins recorded in the final month while pricing has held up.

Specialist materials group Alent (ALNT), which demerged from Cookson Group last year, says that its end markets proved more challenging than expected during the first half of the year but that it outperformed its markets in posting flat revenues. Adjusted profits dipped by 3.1 per cent.

OTHER COMPANY NEWS:

GW Pharmaceuticals (GWP) announces further positive results from trials of its Sativex treatment for spasticity in multiple sclerosis sufferers which confirmed no long term affect on cognition.

Healthcare software specialist Emis Group (EMIS) is acquiring Cambridge-based opthamology screening technology business Digital Healthcare for £3.1m.

San Leon Energy (SLE) has commenced fracturing operations at its Rogity-1 well in Poland and begun mobilising for fracture testing at Siciny-2, also in Poland.

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