Investors in Premier Foods were in for a treat after the maker of Mr Kipling cakes raised its profit forecast for this year as business boomed.
The group, whose brands also include Ambrosia, Saxa and The Spice Tailor, said profit for the year to April 1 should be ahead of expectations at around £135million, up around 10 per cent on the previous year.
It said revenue growth for the final quarter should be at least 10 per cent up. Trading was driven by its grocery arm – home to brands such as Oxo cubes and Bisto.
Mr Kipling-owner Premier Foods, whose brands also include Ambrosia, Saxa and The Spice Tailor, said its profit for the year to April 1 should come in at around £135m
The upbeat figures followed on from January, when Premier Foods reported its sales rose 12 per cent in the 13 weeks to December 31 compared to a year earlier.
Peel Hunt analyst Charles Hall said the performance was ‘encouraging’. It rose 10.4 per cent, or 12p, to 127p.
The FTSE 100 fell 0.1 per cent, or 10.31 points, to 7919.48 while the FTSE 250 was down 0.5 per cent, or 107.50 points, to 19956.61.
Sterling fell back below $1.19 against the dollar after the US Federal Reserve warned interest rates will need to rise further than expected, boosting the dollar.
Spirent Communications warned its revenue for this year would be lower than hoped as customers cut spending.
The FTSE 250 firm, which tests 5G mobile and wifi networks, tumbled 14.5 per cent, or 30.5p, to 180.5p.
The slump came even though its revenue rose 5 per cent to £506.8million in 2022 while profits increased for the sixth year in a row.
Stock Watch – Wincanton
Wincanton warned its profit would be ‘materially lower’ than hoped after the tax office pulled the plug on a lucrative contract.
The logistics firm signed a five-year contract in 2019 with HM Revenue and Customs to operate sites to check inbound shipments but HMRC has decided that it will employ another supplier.
It now expects profit for the 12 months to the end of March 2024 to fall short of the £63million pencilled in by analysts.
Shares fell 27 per cent, or 87.5p, to 223p.
Revolution Bars swung to a loss due to transport strikes and rising costs. The group, which owns 69 bars and 21 pubs, made a loss of £100,000 in the 26 weeks to December 31.
It reported a £4.3million profit the year before. Sales rose 2.6 per cent to £76million but are down 6.8 per cent so far in the second half. Its shares sank 13.5 per cent, or 1.2p, to 7.7p.
The mood was not helped by Reach after the Daily Mirror owner warned trading remained tough.
The newspaper publisher posted lower revenue and profit for the year to Christmas Day after its costs jumped 40 per cent while advertising demand weakened. It fell 14 per cent, or 12.65p, to 78p.
Over at Aston Martin, the luxury car maker’s rally showed little sign of running out of steam. It rose 7.6 per cent, or 20.9p, to 297p after Bernstein hiked its target price to 300p from 180p. Shares are up around 90pc this year.
WPP fell 0.7 per cent, or 7.5p, to 1025p after the advertising giant bought German healthcare specialist PR agency 3K Communication.
It was a day to remember for IWG after the office space provider reported its highest revenue ever. Increased demand for flexible working helped its revenue soar 24 per cent to £3.1billion last year.
It posted a profit of £147million for 2022 having reported a loss of £87million a year earlier. Shares were up 2 per cent, or 3.8p, to 192.05p.
Axel Springer, the largest shareholder at Purplebricks, said its representative on the online estate agent’s board has stepped down to ensure the process of finding a buyer is fair. Shares fell 12.5 per cent, or 1.19p, to 8.31p.
Rio Tinto has agreed to pay £12.65million to settle a US Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into contractual payments made to a former consultant more than a decade ago. It slid 1.3 per cent, or 78p, to 5894p.
Estate agent Foxtons cashed in on higher rental prices last year but warned higher interest rates were taking their toll on the housing market. Shares rose 2.2 per cent, or 0.9p, to 42.1p.
H&T, the UK’s largest pawnbroker, clocked up record online sales in January, hitting £1m in a month for the first time. It slipped 0.4 per cent, or 2p, to 449p.
Just Group surged 11.1 per cent, or 9.1p, to 91p after its profit of £336million last year was 35 per cent higher than analysts expected.
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