GoCompare.com, K3 and Serica Energy

“The blue-chip index continued to move higher fuelled by a weak pound against the US dollar and a rally by retail stocks following positive data from the British Retail Consortium and Kantar Worldpanel which revealed the fastest recorded growth by supermarkets since June 2014,” says AJ Bell Investment Director Russ Mould.

“Comparison site GoCompare.com’s shares jumped after a full-year update indicated adjusted operating profits of around £30m. This represents growth of 30% on 2015 and is at the top end of guidance given when it demerged from insurance group esure. GoCompare.com continues to deliver good trading results and cash generation has also been strong with leverage reducing from 2.8x at the time of the demerger to less than 2.0x at the year end. GoCompare.com’s shares were up by more than 9.4%.

“Cloud solutions provider K3 plummeted after it warned that earnings will be £3.5m lower than anticipated. K3 has been hit by softening market conditions and trading in December, which is a key selling period, failed to meet expectations. The group’s operational reorganisation, which was announced in the autumn, is now largely complete and while this has created a more unified and streamlined structure, it will cost have around £3m to implement, although future annualised benefits are likely to exceed £3.0m. K3’s shares were down by over 21.5%.

Serica Energy was one of the biggest small cap risers following strong production in the UK North Sea Erskine field since August. Output has averaged 3,150 barrels of oil equivalent per day, which beat its original guidance while December production averaged over 3,800 boepd net to Serica at improved commodity prices. Serica’s shares were up by more than 20.1% in lunchtime trading.”

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