Market ReportMarket Movers

Active Energy rises as InterTrader lifts stake above 3%

A look at the day's major movers, including Modern Water, OKYO, Argo Group, Alfa Financial, United Carpets, Airea, Cambridge Cognition, 7digital and QUIZ

AEG has bought a site in North Carolina to be the hub of its new Coalswitch business

Shares in renewable energy and forestry firm Active Energy Group PLC (LON:AEG) advanced after InterTrader increased its stake.

InterTrader’s stake rose above 3% to 3.05%, sending the shares 7.3% to 0.735p.

Earlier this week, Active Energy pulled the trigger on the acquisition of a site in North Carolina for its Coalswitch business.

READ Active Energy acquires North Carolina site to be Coalswitch hub​

3.00pm: Modern Water lower after appointing Nomad

Normally the appointment of a nominated adviser (Nomad) provides a lift to an AIM stock’s shares but not so in the case of Modern Water PLC (LON:MWG).

The water treatment firm has appointed Cairn Financial Advisers as its Nomad.

Could this presage a fund-raising? There is no indication that it will but the shares dipped 0.35p to 6.05p anyway.

2.00pm: Eye-eye; OKYO rises as it prepares to present pre-clinical data

OKYO Pharma Limited (LON:OKYO) sounds like a hop-hop drug developer but is in fact a biotech developing drugs for inflammatory eye diseases and chronic pain.

Its shares rose 6.5% to 1.225p after it announced it would present pre-clinical results demonstrating anti-inflammatory activity and the potential of OKYO-0101 for dry eye treatment at a conference in New Orleans.

The presentation will take place at the 'late-breaking poster session' of the 14th Congress on Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, a biennial meeting of Association for Ocular Pharmacology & Therapeutics. The major theme this year is "Next Generation of Ocular Therapeutics".

OK, yo?

1.00pm: Buy-back boost for Argo Group

Hedge fund Argo Group Limited (LON:ARGO) is offering to buyback its shares at between 18p and 26p a pop.

The shares rose 1.75p to 17p on the announcement.

The company has set aside up to £2.5mln for the offer, which will be done by way of tender – i.e. shareholders state the price at which they will sell and Argo decides whether to buy them.

The announcement came on the same day that the group admitted in its 2018 results that the second half of the year just ended had been a year to forget for most hedge funds and that Argo “was not immune from the general correction in market prices as they particularly affected emerging markets”.

12.15pm: Alfa Financial showing signs of rejuvenation

Recovery play Alfa Financial Software Holdings PLC (LON:ALFA) rose by more than a fifth after it revealed trading picked up in the second half of 2018.

The company said in its 2018 results statement that the number of late-stage pipeline opportunities had increased in comparison to June 2018.

“We are currently progressing contractual discussions with a new European customer and planning a second phase implementation for an existing multi-national customer,” revealed Andrew Denton, the chief executive officer of Alfa.

“We have also seen an increase in the overall size of the late-stage pipeline across geographies and verticals since we last reported at our half-year results. Following an assessment of a number of different areas across the business – including our sales and commercial processes – we have made a number of organisational changes which we believe will strengthen the business going forward,” he added.

11.30am: United Carpets and Airea fail to cut a rug

Given the travails of the UK housing market of late, it continues to be a dodgy time to be in the floor coverings business.

Shares in United Carpets Group PLC (LON:UCG) were hammered after the retailer warned that profits are expected to slump this year as British shoppers continue to keep a tight rein on spending ahead of Brexit.

READ United Carpets floored once again, this time by Brexit uncertainty

While United Carpets took most of the flak – the shares were down 15% - the wall-to-wall was also calling for floor coverings maker Airea PLC (LON:AIEA).

The shares were down 4.8% at 70p as the company reported a decline in profit before tax to £2.6mln from £3.6mln the year before.

10.30am: Cambridge Cognition slides as it places shares at a steep discount

Cambridge Cognition Holdings PLC (LON:COG) made three stock market announcements on Thursday but it was likely the fund-raising news that hit the shares.

The company, which develops and markets neuroscience technology to assess brain health, has raised £2.5mln by placing shares at 72p.

The shares slumped 6.5p to 76p on the news.

The company also released full-year results for 2018 and the appointment of healthcare veteran, Dr Matthew Stork, as chief operating officer.

9.30am: 7digital continues on the comeback trail but QUIZ has questions to answer

Broadcast services provider 7digital Group PLC (LON:7DIG) continues to recover from the major setback it suffered in January, with news today of a new contract.

The shares were rocked in January when the company revealed European retailer MediaMarktSaturn was mulling the future of the Juke music service; 7digital ultimately negotiated a termination settlement for the service earlier this month and clawed back some of its heavy share price losses.

READ 7digital shares halve as European retailer MediaMarktSaturn questions arrangements for Juke music service

The shares were up 30% at 1.725p today after the company agreed an initial two-year deal with Music Powered Games (MPG), a developer of online music games that use song lyrics to power the gameplay.

The deal is to set up and maintain full-track streaming services for MPG's "arcade of music games", which launches today in the USA.

Quiz PLC (LON:QUIZ), which describes itself as an “omni-channel fashion brand”, saw its share price almost halve as it issued a profit warning.

The retailer said sales this year have fallen significantly below expectations and it has had to slash prices to get shot of stock.

Guidance on underlying earnings (EBITDA) for the year to the end of March 2019 has been chopped to £4.5mln or thereabouts from previous guidance, issued as recently as 11 January, of around £8.2mln.

Proactive news headlines:

Asiamet Resources Limited (LON:ARS) has received two key approvals for its wholly-owned BKM copper project in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia.

Victoria Oil & Gas PLC (LON:VOG) has today confirmed the result of its equity raise, with the company successfully selling 59.35mln new shares priced at 13p each. The placing was oversubscribed, VOG highlighted, with new and existing investors taking up shares.

Strategic Minerals PLC (LON:SML) is to restart copper production at the Leigh Creek copper mine’s Mountain of Light (MoL) processing facility in April of this year.

ANGLE PLC (LON:AGL) (OTCQX:ANPCY) said it had passed a “key milestone” following the completion of recruitment to a Phase III clinical study to assess the potential of its liquid biopsy in metastatic breast cancer. A total of 400 people will be screened using the Parsortix system, which harvests tumour cells. The work is being carried out at world-leading cancer centres in Texas, California and Illinois.

Sound Energy PLC (LON:SOU) has told investors that it has continued positive discussions with the Moroccan authorities over a gas sales agreement that would unlock the Tendrara project for production.

Touchstone Exploration Inc (LON:TXP) has released its annual reserves assessment, showing a 5% increase in proved reserves. Proven (1P) reserves amounted to 11.2mln barrels while proven and probable (2P) increased by 4% to 19.2mln barrels.

Metal Tiger PLC (LON:MTR) said its investee company Kalahari Metals Limited (KML) has reported that results from recently completed soil sampling and re-interpretation of historical data over the Kitlanya joint venture copper project has provided compelling targets for drill testing.

Oil and gas company i3 Energy PLC (LON:I3E) has responded to speculation about a possible fund-raising by saying it is considering many viable funding options.

Existing institutional investor Lombard Odier Asset Management is to inject a further £2mln into forestry and timber trader Obtala Limited (LON:OBT). Proceeds are earmarked for immediate capex at its facilities in Gabon including: upgrading two heavy-duty vertical bandsaws in the sawmill and the installation of a plywood manufacturing line within the veneer factory

Block Energy PLC (LON:BLOE) revealed a significant increase in production rate at Norio wells 44 and 27. The company said that the improvement is “moving the combined current production rate at the Norio and Satskhenisi fields towards 60 barrels of oil per day.”

Widecells Group PLC (LON:WDC) said on Wednesday that it had issued a further drawdown notice for up to around £1.36mln under a financing agreement with the European High Growth Opportunities Securitisation Fund. The AIM-listed stem cells group said the funds will be paid in three tranches, iand n return it issue bonds which can be converted into shares.

Silence Therapeutics PLC (LON:SLN), a leader in the discovery, development and delivery of novel RNA therapeutics for the treatment of serious diseases, announced that its chief executive officer, Dr David Horn Solomon is scheduled to present an overview and company update as well as host investor meetings at the 39th Annual Cowen Health Care Conference on Monday, March 11, 2019 at The Boston Marriott Copley Place, Boston, Mass.

Bushveld Minerals Limited (LON:BMN), the AIM-listed, integrated primary vanadium producer, with ownership of high grade vanadium assets in South Africa, announced that its CEO, Fortune Mojapelo attended and presented at the BMO Capital Markets 28th Annual Global Metals & Mining Conference, in Florida, between February 25 and February 27, with the presentation and audio currently available on the company's website.

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