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Today’s market overview

Shares rose in early trading, buoyed by good economic data from China overnight and The Trader Dominic Picarda believes we are in for a positive period.

IC TIP UPDATES:

RPS Group (RPS) has announced plans to acquire Norwegian project management consultancy OEC Consulting for up to £31.5m. It specialises in North Sea oil and gas but also works in the health sector and offers facilities management services in Norway. In 2012 it made profits of £3.5m from turnover of £27m. We maintain our buy on RPS.

KEY STORIES:

Instrumentation and controls business Spectris (SXS) says that revenues for the three months to September rose by 5 per cent compared with last year, with organic growth up 3 per cent. A rebound in Europe, where sales grew 8 per cent and improving sales in North America made up for a 1 per cent reversal in Asia.

Retailer Bonmarche has become the latest company to announce its intention to float. The specialist retailer, which offers a value proposition to women aged 55-plus and trades from 264 stores, wants to list on Aim. No new money will be raised but existing shareholders will cash in some of their holdings.

Provident Financial Group (PFG) has performed in line with expectations with its Vanquis Bank operation performing ahead of its internal plan but the Consumer Credit Division continuing to suffer from weak demand.

Financial services specialist Brooks Macdonald (BRK) grew discretionary funds under management by 5.2 per cent in the past quarter to £5.37bn, boosted by both improved investment performance and positive inflows. Advisory funds edged up to £354m and the Braemar Estates property division saw property assets under management grow by 2.9 per cent to £1.07bn.

Leyshon Resources (LRL) expects to hold a shareholder meeting in late November to approve the demerger of its energy assets into a separate Aim listed company which will also have $35m in cash reserves. Existing shareholders will receive shares in the new business.

Final results from International Mining & Infrastructure Corporation(IMIC) reveal little in terms of financials as the company has spent most of the past few months edging towards its acquisition of Afferro Mining (AFF), which is now close to completion and brings with it highly prospective iron ore projects in Cameroon.

E2V Technologies (E2V) has appointed Stephen Blair of Spectris as its chief executive, he begins in January.

OTHER COMPANY NEWS:

Bluefield Solar Income Fund (BSIF) has signed an agreement to buy its fourth large scale solar plant in the UK. The plant, on an agricultural site in Oxfordshire, is costing £17m and takes Bluefield’s total investment so far to £55m across four solar plants. The company is on track to pay a 4p a share dividend for the year to June followed by 7p the following year, rising with inflation after that.

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