Oct. 29--Oh no, not again! Long-suffering major shareholders of Phoenix IT are livid after the loss-making firm, which stores data for other companies, slumped 17p or 10pc to 145p on yet another profits warning. The board warned the group would take an estimated pounds sterling 2m hit after one of its suppliers said it was terminating its contract.
The news certainly increases the pressure on executive chairman Peter Bertram with shareholders now apparently calling for him to either resign or put the company up for sale after three warnings in 2013.
The rot had set in last September when the shares crashed 33pc in one traumatic session after the board warned that accounting irregularities would smash a pounds sterling 14m hole in the balance sheet. It led to chief executive David Courtley falling on his sword.
Toscafund, which sits on 19pc of the equity, is believed to have requested that the board formally put the group up for sale. Aberforth Partners, which sits on 16pc, is 100pc supportive and would be happy to sell if any interested party was prepared to put a 210p a share cash bid on the table. Broker Numis cut its current year profit forecast by pounds sterling 2m to pounds sterling 31.8m and next year's by pounds sterling 6m to pounds sterling 30.7m.
For those who negotiated fallen trees, wind and driving rain, and made it into the office by car or London Underground, there was certainly not much to write home about. The volume of business left a lot to be desired although thankfully the trend was firmer for choice with the FTSE 100 closing up 4.48 points at 6725.82.
Fund managers remain convinced that the Fed will tomorrow confirm that it will be leaving its $85bn monthly bond buying stimulus measures unchanged for the time being. Wall Street fell 1.35 points to 15,568.93.
Randgold Resources jumped 212p to 4851p after chief executive Alan Bristow said the group is exploring further opportunities in Cote d'Ivoire. It owns and operates the region's largest gold mine at Tongon, which has achieved 600,000 ounces of gold since it started production at the end of 2010.
Not helped by cancelled flights due to the stormy UK weather, discount airline easyJet nose-dived 29p to 1300p.
Sellers checked out of Intercontinental Hotels, 42p down at 1823p, after announcing that its revenue per available room (RevPAR) for its US and Americas brands in the nine months to the end of September grew by a disappointing 4.5pc, driven predominantly by a 2.9pc increase in rates.
Sporadic bouts of profit-taking ahead of today's third-quarter trading statement left part taxpayer-owned Lloyds Banking Group 0.75p cheaper at 79.62p. Investec's Ian Gordon says Lloyds is in very good shape. He forecasts an 'underlying' pre-tax profit of pounds sterling 1.5bn, marginally ahead of the second-quarter and well ahead of the prior year.
Profit-taking ahead of Thursday's third-quarter figures dragged Countrywide 25p lower to 560p. Panmure Gordon has a price target of pounds sterling 7 but believes short-term performance could be affected by the overhang risk from private equity placings the lock-ins expire in mid-November.
Oil and gas developer Enquest rose 3.1p to 135.6p after Liberum Capital upgraded to buy from hold and lifted its target price to 174p. The broker believes near- term growth potential looks attractive, and it could be producing more than 50,000 barrels of oil per day from its existing projects by 2017.
Broker Nplus1 Singer advised clients to buy stockbroker Brewin Dolphin, 2.9p dearer at 284.4p. It has a target price of 305p and believes the benefits of the current significant internal restructuring could exceed market expectations which would further enhance earnings growth.
Highly speculative mobile software company Globo, a recent target of Evil Knievel, aka infamous bear raider Simon Cawkwell, plummeted 14p, or 21pc, to 53.5p on nervous selling. The group revealed that following recent private investor presentations it has decided to publish on its website, on Thursday if not earlier, clarification on its working capital model and the impact of the disposal late last year of 51pc of its Greek subsidiary, Globo Technologies.
Strategic Natural Resources fell 2.12p to 7.12p after subsidiary Elitheni Coal entered advanced talks with a number of South African miners about providing it with short-term funding via a debt-for-equity swap.
Following an upbeat operational update on its activities in Morocco, Gulfsands Petroleum gushed 0.83p to 61p. Drilling operations on the Al Krima 1 well located in the Rharb Centre Permit in Northern Morocco have commenced. This is the first of nine wells to be drilled on the Rharb permits.