DS Smith, up 3.8%, announced in its half-yearly trading update that trading was in line with its expectations, with return on sales to be mostly consistent with the previous guidance and return on average capital employed to be in the upper end of the target range.
Peel Hunt reissued its “Hold” rating on Abcam, up 5.2%, with a target price of 1020p. Barclays reiterated its “Equal Weight” rating on AVEVA Group, up 3.3%, with a target price of 1450p.
LPA Group, up 15.1%, announced in its annual trading update that it witnessed record levels of output during the second half and anticipates it to continue into the new financial year, assuming the current volume of deliverable orders. Its margins returned to normal levels, following weakness in the first half due to unfavourable product mix, while manufacturing efficiency witnessed a substantial improvement.
Elektron Technology, up 13.1%, announced in its third-quarter trading update that sales jumped 34% to £8.6m from £6.4m in the third quarter of 2016, while the year-to-date sales increased 15% to £22.9m in the same period last year.
Liberum Capital restated its “Buy” rating on Kier Group, up 3.4%, with a target price of 1600p.
Bango, up 2.4%, announced that it has appointed Alex Oh as the Country Manager of its South Korean business, in order to expand its presence and business development activity in South Korea.
Canaccord Genuity increased its target price on Amino Technologies, up 1.6%, to 200p from 180p and maintained its “Buy” rating.
Peel Hunt dropped its rating on Xaar, down 0.4%, to “Add” from “Buy” rating with a target price of 535p. Numis Securities upgraded its rating on RhythmOne, down 3.3%, to “Add” from “Neutral” with a target price of 42p.
UK markets closed higher in the last week, after the Bank of England (BoE) raised its key interest rate for the first time in a decade, but indicated that any rate hike in future would be gradual. On the data front, UK’s services sector expanded at its fastest pace in six months in October, while the manufacturing sector also grew at a faster-than-expected pace in the same month. The FTSE AIM 100 index added 0.9% to close at 5,363.7, while the FTSE techMARK 100 index jumped 2.4% to end at 4,783.4. Moreover, the FTSE 100 index gained 0.7% to settle at 7,560.4.
US markets finished firmer last week, as the US Federal Reserve (Fed) held its benchmark interest rates, while the US President, Donald Trump nominated Jerome Powell, as the next Fed chair. Also, the Republicans unveiled a new tax plan in the House of Representatives, which would sharply slash the corporate tax. In economic news, the US employment rate surprisingly fell to a 17-year low in October, while the non-farm payrolls advanced less-than-expected in September. The DJIA index advanced 0.4% to end at 23,539.2, while the NASDAQ index rose 0.9% to close at 6,764.