JD Wetherspoon, The Gym Group and Purplebricks

“The FTSE100 opened in negative territory as investors attempted to weigh up the potential impact of a further missile launch over Japan by North Korea,” says AJ Bell Investment Director Russ Mould.

“Pub group JD Wetherspoon topped the FTSE250 board in early trading after an increase in full-year profits. The group has also seen an encouraging rise in like-for-like sales since the start of its new financial year which are currently up 6.1%. Group chairman Tim Martin does not expect this to continue for the rest of the year but investors were not deterred by the note of caution and the group’s shares were up by more than 9.8%.

The Gym Group was a strong early riser after boosting its portfolio with the acquisition of 18 gyms from Lifestyle Fitness for £20.5m. The high quality gyms are mainly in the Midlands and North of England and will transfer to The Gym Group as going concerns including the existing membership. Each of the gyms will get some initial capital investment, primarily in gym equipment, which is expected to total £110,000 per site.

Purplebricks’ shares rose after the group launched its business in the US. Purplebricks will follow the region-by-region rollout pattern which it has successfully used in both the UK and Australian markets and will start in Los Angeles, before extending across California and other targeted key states. California’s potential is compelling. It has around 12.6 million households, less than half the UK equivalent, but the level of commission income is more than double that of the UK. The group’s shares were up by over 3.5%.”

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