Abcam, down 0.3%, announced that it has bought the gene editing platform and oncology product portfolio of Applied StemCell Inc. for life science research and diagnostic markets. The acquisition includes a portfolio of cell lines and the well-known AccuRef reference materials product line. Abcam stated that the transaction is likely to have a slight impact on revenue and earnings for the financial year ending in June 2020.
LPA Group, up 14.1%, in its preliminary results for the year ended 30 September 2019, announced that revenues dropped 30% to £19.5m from £28m reported in the last year, following delays in rail projects in both UK and export markets. LPA swung to a loss before tax of £200k against a profit of £2m reported in the previous year. The basic loss per share stood at 0.4p compared to earnings of 14.3p in the previous year. The company’s board has recommended a final dividend of 1.8p per share, which if approved, will be payable on 27 March 2020 to shareholders on the register as at 28 February 2020. The company stated that it anticipates good progress throughout the rest of the year and beyond, amid waning uncertainty over Brexit. FinnCap raised its target price on the stock to 156p from 131p.
Liberum Capital reiterated its “Buy” rating on Kier Group, up 8.8%.
Peel Hunt downgraded its rating on Horizon Discovery Group, up 5.5%, to “Hold” from “Add”.
IQGeo Group, unchanged at 58.5p, in its trading update for the year ended 31 December 2019, announced that it delivered strong performance in 2019, as it continued to win new customers. The company’s Annual Recurring Revenues (ARR) from software subscription, maintenance and support grew by over 60% in 2019 to approximately £2m, with own product revenues rising by 15% to £5.5m. IQGeo is likely to release its full year results in March 2020.
Quixant, down 15.8%, in its trading update for the year ended 31 December 2019, announced that it anticipates revenue to slump 20% to $92.3m from $115.2m in the last year, citing softer demand in its gaming division. Also, its adjusted profit before tax is expected to decline by 41% to $10.7m. The company is expected to release its annual results on 23 March 2020.
Peel Hunt reissued its “Hold” rating on Xaar, down 16.2%.
UK markets closed lower last week, dragged down by losses in mining and energy sector stocks. UK house prices advanced more than expected in January, while mortgage approvals rose to its highest level since July 2017 in December. The Bank of England (BoE) held its benchmark interest rate steady at 0.75%, as widely expected. Further, the BoE lowered its growth forecast on the British economy for 2020 and 2021, amid Brexit uncertainties and a weaker global outlook. The FTSE 100 index declined 4% to settle at 7286, while the FTSE AIM 100 index fell 1.6% to close at 4860.4. Meanwhile, the FTSE techMARK 100 index lost 3.2% to end at 5946.4.
US markets closed on a weaker footing in the previous week, weighed down by losses in industrial and consumer discretionary sector stocks. The US advance goods trade deficit widened in December, while the annualised GDP rose as expected in 4Q 2019. Meanwhile, the US consumer confidence index advanced to its highest level since August 2019 in January. The US Federal Reserve left its benchmark interest rate unchanged and hinted that interest rates will remain unchanged throughout 2020. The DJIA index fell 2.5% to end at 28256, while the NASDAQ index lost 1.8% to close at 9150.9.