LONDON -- In a week that saw both U.K. inflation and unemployment falling, the FTSE 100
It was a busy week for individual stocks too. Here's a quick look at some of the movers.
Mothercare, the retailer catering to expectant mothers and children, is in the midst of an attempted turnaround after slumping in 2011. And this week, the stock soared by 43 pence (20%) to 265 pence after interim figures showed a halt to the recent sales fall, and a return to positive like-for-like sales growth in the second quarter.
"Our strategy outlined in May this year is showing early signs of progress," chief executive Simon Calver said. With the stock up 70% since its low point, it's hard to disagree.
Melrose, which invests in underperforming businesses to turn them around, gained 14 pence (6%) to rise to 244 pence during the week, taking the stock up 23% so far in 2012. The reason? The company has issued good news after good news, starting with strong progress for the year ending December 2011, and followed by half-year figures in August showing further growth.
We're expecting the next update in November, and forecasts are looking good, with a dividend of around 3% expected.
Investment manager Man Group slumped by 9 pence (10%) to 81 pence after its third-quarter update told of a further $2.2 billion outflow of clients' funds, though total funds did rise by $7.3 billion because of an acquisition and $1.2 billion produced from investment performance.
Ominously, there was no mention of this year's dividend, which is currently forecasted at around 15%, though earnings won't come close to covering it. Many assume the silence will presage a cut.
Distribution and outsourcing company Bunzl has had a very strong year so far and was up nearly 24% in 2012 before this week. But an interim update on Thursday indicated that growth excluding acquisitions is starting to come under pressure. And although things are otherwise going pretty much as expected, the price dropped 56 pence (5%) on the week to 1,038 pence.
There was also news of another acquisition, as Bunzl has bought U.K. firm Indigo Concept Packaging.
As usual, this week's FTSE trading provided some large share-price movements -- and perhaps some buying opportunities. Indeed, legendary investor Warren Buffett has spent more than $1 billion buying the shares of one of the U.K.'s most successful FTSE large caps.
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