Daily Mail, London, market report column [Daily Mail, London]
(Daily Mail (London, England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 24--CONTRARY to popular belief, British technology is alive and kicking.
Many fund managers in recent times have preferred to invest their cash in so-called 'safe haven' bonds and in doing so ignore the more entrepreneurial and potentially more exciting smaller companies quoted on the LSE. More fool them.
A case in point is Nanoco which yesterday rocketed more than 21pc, or 23.5p, to 133.25p after announcing a transformational global licensing agreement with Dow Electronic Materials, a business unit of Dow Chemicals.
Nanoco, which was spun out of research pursued at Manchester University, has signed a deal which gives Dow exclusive worldwide rights for the manufacture, marketing and sale of Nanoco's cadmium-free quantum dots for use in electronic displays.
Nanoco has developed a new form of light-emitting crystals, known as quantum dots, which can be used to produce ultra-thin televisions.
Liberum Capital lifted its target price to 260p from 160p on news of the deal.The broker regards the high royalty bearing agreement as a game changer for Nanoco.
Major potential customers like Samsung and LG are likely to move much faster in adopting Nanoco's quantum dot technology in their displays. It forecasts revenues of pounds sterling 7.8m in 2014, rising to pounds sterling 140m in 2017.
Entrepreneur Richard Griffiths' Ora Capital sits on 18.8pc of Nanoco and also owns 28pc of Ceres Power, 0.1p easier at 8.85p. Along with 29.9pc holder IP2IPO, it helped rescue the clean technology group in November when it piled in for stock at a penny a pop in a pounds sterling 3.3m fund-raising.
They are already looking at a nice paper profit on their investment but there apparently is a lot more to come.
They are confident that the company which was spun out of Imperial College in 2011 and floated on AIM in 2009, is over the worst and is destined for greater things.
New management was brought in at the time of the fund-raising and the decision was made to switch from developing fuel cell boilers for the UK domestic market to licensing its technology. Watch this space.
Buoyed by Wall Street's overnight gain of 62 points following better-than-expected earnings from Google and IBM and Unilever's (75p up at 2526p) full-year results which came at the top end of market expectations, the Footsie climbed 18.47 points more to 6,197.64. Profit-taking left the FTSE 250 23.74 points off at 12,934.4.
Up 5pc since the start of the year, Wall Street climbed 66.96 points to 13,779.17 yesterday and is well on course for its best January performance since 1997.
Reports of a broker earnings upgrade lifted Tullow Oil 40p to 1195p. Revived takeover talk helped Africa-focused explorer Afren climb 12.8p to 152p.
Mobile phone giant Vodafone buzzed 1.05p higher to 163.45p. Broker Killik is a fan and says although parts of its portfolio are experiencing difficult trading conditions, the important US business is performing well and distributing its strong cash flow back to Vodafone.
As new boss Antony Jenkins takes a chainsaw to jobs at the bank's controversial BarCap investment banking operation, Barclays eased 0.05p to 296p.
Investec is a buyer, with analyst Ian Gordon pointing out that what it does bring home is that consensus still appears to underestimate the material benefit that will flow through the BarCap cost line as headcount and pay are rebased to the benefit of the shareholder.
Undertakers Dignity jumped 33p more to a record 1155p on further consideration of its pounds sterling 58.3m acquisition of Yew Holdings, which boosts its market position in both funerals and crematoria in the North of England.
Despite an Investec recommendation, insurance giant Aviva dipped 4.1p to 368.6p. The broker believes the current 26p a share dividend is sustainable and says that if management deems that a cut is in order, a reduction of at least 30pc would be needed to generate a sensible level of savings. Unlikely.
An uninspiring pre-close trading update covering the first five months of the financial year up to the end of December 2012 left Close Brothers 3.5p easier at 968.5p. Overall trading at the group which owns top market-maker Winterflood Securities is 'on track' and the board expects to achieve a good results in the first half.
Sold of late on fears of an imminent rights issue and/or the dividend will be scrapped, bus and rail company FirstGroup cheapened 2.1p more to 192p after Oriel Securities advised clients to sell ahead of today's third-quarter trading update.
SELF storage company Big Yellow fell 13.9p to 368p after announcing a pounds sterling 38m fundraising via a placing of 10m shares, or 7.5pc of the share capital. The proceeds will be used to reduce its pounds sterling 277m debt pile, enabling the board to rebase its dividend a year earlier. It will also enable it to proceed with the development of three existing sites -- Gypsy Corner, Enfield and Guildford Centre -- with planning consent.
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