LONDON -- The FTSE 100
But Foolish investors are far more interested in the performances of individual companies, and there were certainly some movers on the various FTSE indices this week, in which we saw a number of important results.
Engineering-services contractor Cape soared 49 pence (26%) to end the week at 242 pence, after releasing halftime results on Thursday that pleased investors. The news told us that pre-tax profit fell 65% year on year, but that had been expected, as we had already had a couple of profit warnings telling us of problems with the company's Pacific Rim areas.
What pleased the market was news that revenue was up, the dividend was maintained, and Cape's view that its business is fundamentally strong. Many had been expecting further warnings.
Student-accommodation provider Unite Group revealed a doubling of interim pretax profit to 33.5 million pounds, a trebling of adjusted earnings to 9 pence per share, and a doubling of the first-half dividend to 1 penny. That led to a 22 pence (10%) rise on the week, to 245 pence.
Record numbers of people going on to higher education, and the likelihood of a recovery in property values, make the future look promising.
Recruitment specialist Hays reported a fall in earnings per share of 4% to 5.47 pence, despite an 11% rise in pre-tax profit to 122.4 million pounds, and that led the price to fall 8.65 pence (11%) on the week, to end at 68.75 pence.
The fall reflected the cutting of the dividend by 57% to 2.5 pence per share -- which was more than the market expected -- and chief executive Alistair Cox's prediction that next year will be tough.
Online gaming operator bwin.party saw its price fall by 5 pence (5%) to 94 pence on Friday, after interim results showed revenues from poker slumping by 9%. Even though overall revenues were slightly up because of better performance in other areas, the company recorded a pretax loss of 15.3 million euros -- though that was hit by a retroactive tax in Spain.
The stock is down from more than 300 pence in 2007, showing that, like gambling itself, investing in gambling can be a risky business.
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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