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Today’s market overview

Equities have only given up a little of their recent gains in early trading despite the disappointing lack of a budget deal out of Washington overnight. It appears that investors are holding out for an eleventh hour compromise again, and The Trader Dominic Picarda is impressed with this resilience.

IC TIP UPDATES:

Motor dealer Vertu Motors (VTU) has seen its shares spike 14 per cent higher on the back of strong interim results which led management to predict that full year results will significantly surpass expectations. Revenues for the six months to August rose by one third to £837.2m and profits improved by 69 per cent to £8.6m. We keep our buy rating.

Simon Thompson recommendation. Netplay TV (NPT) has posted positive third quarter key performance indicators in which it continued to grow despite the warmer weather dampening demand for its TV based gaming. The key growth was in the mobile and tablet sector where contributions rose by 171 per cent. It accounted for 40 per cent of new depositing casino players and 32 per cent of the total net revenues, up from 14 per cent a year ago. Total net revenues were 19 per cent higher than last year at £6.5m, but down marginally on the strong showing in the second quarter.

Oil and has well head technology specialist Plexus Holdings (POS) has secured a further contract with BG in Egypt worth £350,000. Buy.

Galliford Try (GFRD) has been appointed preferred delivery partner for two new school ‘campuses’ in Scotland in a deal worth £49.7m. We maintain our buy recommendation.

KEY STORIES:

Engineering specialist IMI (IMI) has announced the proposed disposal of its Beverage Dispense and Merchandising divisions to a division of Berkshire Hathaway for up to $1.1bn, a deal which would allow the company to return £690m to investors and contribute £70m to its pension fund. Meanwhile the company has so far bought back £85m worth of shares as part of a £175m share buyback programme which is ongoing. Meanwhile, a trading update suggested the company is expecting a stronger fourth quarter. Revenues for the three months to the end of September rose by 3 per cent, but remain down 1 per cent year to date.

Smiths News (NWS) posted flat revenues of £1.8bn for the year to August and a 14 per cent rise in statutory pre-tax profit to £41.9m. The Smiths News distribution business has secured £800m of annual revenues through recent contract renewals out to 2019 and beyond, meanwhile 29 per cent of profit is now coming from outside newspaper and magazine wholesale with a target of pushing this to 50 per cent by 2016.

Great Portland Estates (GPOR) has won planning permission for its landmark development on an old Post Office site at Rathbone Place in the West End of London.

Online gaming specialist 888 Holdings (888) edged revenues ahead by 2 per cent in the third quarter with casino strongly outperforming poker. Revenues for the first nine months of the year totalled $294m, up 6 per cent on last year.

Hochschild Mining (HOC) produced 5.4m ounces of silver in the third quarter, which leaves the company on track to meet its 2013 production target of 20m ounces.

OTHER COMPANY NEWS:

Exillion Energy (EXI) confirms that its sale process is ongoing and that a number of interested parties have been given access to its data room.

Surveillance technology specialist Digital Barriers (DGB) has announced plans for a placing to raise £18m at 140p a share. The cash is required for short term cash requirements due to greater levels of seasonality and longer sales cycles.

Eland Oil & Gas (ELA) says that work on recommencing production at the OML40 licence is ongoing but is taking slightly longer than expected with 2,500 barrels per day production expected to commence by the end of the year.

Rangers Football Club (RFC) has announced the departure of chief executive Craig Mather and non-executive Bryan Smart with immediate effect.

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