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McClatchy-Tribune  07/18/2014 2:58 PM ET
Daily Mail, London, market report column [Daily Mail, London :: ]

July 18--RUSSIAN billionaire Roman Abramovich's hobby, apart from Chelsea Football Club, is alternative fuel technology.

That is why, back in October 2012, he effectively put AFC Energy on the investment map of many fund managers by shelling out some loose change or pounds sterling 8.7m on a 15pc stake at 26p a pop. A year later the stock was trading at 54.5p, but it's been downhill ever since that is, until this week.

The shares have rallied from a low of 19.59p to close yesterday 2.62p better at 28.12p after announcing its second South Korean deal in days, with Daniel, a Korean fuel cell specialist, for an initial 1MW fuel system with a follow-on option for a further 3MW project making a potential sales value of about pounds sterling 8.8m.

The news follows that earlier this week of a memorandum of understanding with Korean company Chang Shin Chemical, for the supply of multiple fuel cell systems with a total potential generating capacity of up to 5MW. Chang Shin is a high-pressure gas production company specialising in the safe production and supply of ultra-pure gases.

South Korea is one of the world's top fuel cell markets. It has a clean energy incentive programme with a goal of becoming one of the world's largest producers of renewable energy. It's all mega bullish for AFC, which is expected to be on the receiving end of many more orders from the country.

Fuel cell guru Dr Tom McColm at Zeus Capital said: 'This is a very significant commercial milestone for AFC in the global industrial roll-out of its low-cost, modular alkaline fuel-cell system for large-scale production of electricity from industrial hydrogen.'

Sporadic bouts of profit-taking dragged the Footsie 46.35 points lower to 6,738.32, while the FTSE 250 shed 46.22 points to 15,554.01.

Sentiment was unsettled by the US banning a number of major Russian companies from accessing US equity and debt markets for new funding with a maturity beyond 90 days. Wall Street lost 161.39 points to 16,976.81 following news that a Malaysian airline jet had crashed in eastern Ukraine near the Russia border.

Financial services giant Hargreaves Lansdown led the retreat with a fall of 47p to 1115p. Can maker Rexam, which is heavily exposed to the Russian economy, fell 16p to 520.5p.

Broadcaster ITV featured with a rise of 11.3p to 195.1p on bid hopes after Liberty Global bought BSkyB's 7pc stake at 185p a share. The deal, which came hard on the heels of news of Time Warner's unsuccessful pounds sterling 46.6bn bid approach from Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox, set the media sector alight. Daily Mirror publisher Trinity Mirror rose 13.25p to 176.35p, STV added 8.25p at 370.25p and UTV Media 8.5p to 200.5p. After banking pounds sterling 481m on the ITV sale, BSkyB closed 7.5p dearer at 897.5p.

Shares of inter-dealer broker Tullett Prebon rose 10p to 260p following the appointment of John Phizackerley as chief executive, who takes over from Terry Smith on September 1. Known as 'Phiz', he is the former chief executive of Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Nomura International and also worked for Lehman Bros from 1986 to 2008.

Self storage group Big Yellow jumped 30p to 530p after Morgan Stanley upgraded to overweight from equalweight and lifted its target price to 615p from 445p.

Online domestic appliances retailer AO World declined 14.9p to 229p despite announcing trading for the three months to end-June was in line with expectations, with like-for-like sales growth of 30pc over the same period for the previous financial year.

Judges Scientific, a company specialising in the design, manufacture and sale of scientific instruments, was one of the best performing stocks on AIM last year quite rightly so, after exceeding City expectations on revenues and growth along the way. Profit-taking yesterday dragged the stock 267.5p lower to 1470p despite saying that first-half revenues will be 43pc up on last year in challenging trading conditions. The company's balance sheet remains robust and net debt rests at a modest multiple of operating profit.

Cakes-to-speciality breads maker Finsbury Food rose 5p to 59.5p on hearing that full-year profits would beat analysts' expectations due to success with top-line and efficiency initiatives.

Struggling spread betting firm London Capital Group lost 2p to 24.5p after reporting an expected first-half loss of pounds sterling 400,000, compared with a profit of pounds sterling 100,000 a year ago. LCG said it was well capitalised and had net cash resources and amounts due from brokers of pounds sterling 17.7m at end-June.

Healthcare and consumer strategic marketing group Cello improved 4p to 92p following a bullish half-year trading update. Like-for-like gross profit growth has been in excess of 10pc for the period.

INSURER Gable Holdings rose 1.5p to 87p after announcing an agreement with UK commercial insurance broker Risk Alliance to write commercial combined package policies for the UK SME market. Gable will commence writing business immediately and the agreement is expected to generate pounds sterling 10m of gross premium per annum. Broker Panmure Gordon is a long-term fan and increased its target price to 105p from 92p.

 

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