There’s nothing like a bit of retail therapy when you’re feeling a bit down.
That’s what comparison site Money Supermarket has done as it waits for its shares to recover from last month’s growth warning.
It has splashed out £40million on fellow comparison site Decision Technologies, which owns Broadband Choices and Compare My Mobile, but it also writes the code that powers other sites, including Money Supermarket.
Mark Lewis, the boss of Money Supermarket, said: ‘We said we would be working to take price comparison to users via sites they regularly visit on their mobiles, and Decision Tech’s business-to-business operation does that.’
Analysts at Investec said the move was a ‘smart decision’.
Moneysupermarket has splashed out £40m on fellow comparison site Decision Technology, which owns broadbandchoices and comparemymobile.com
In a note to investors, it added: ‘It is consistent with management strategy to drive new market growth and accelerate growth in the core business.
‘Money Supermarket shares have been weak recently, but we see this as a positive catalyst.’ Shares ticked up 1.5 per cent, or 4.2p, to 286.8p.
The FTSE 100 edged up 0.17 per cent, or 11.87 points, to 7056.61, but it was the worst-performing major index in the first quarter. Analysts blamed the strengthening pound, which has hit the earnings of the index’s dollar earners.
Share in FTSE 100 supermarket Morrison were boosted by a glowing broker note.
Bernstein increased the supermarket’s target price from 235p to 245p, upgrading it to ‘outperform’ because of the recovery it has made since chief executive David Potts joined in 2015.
Its shares climbed 2.4 per cent, or 5p, to 213.5p.
Intellectual property firm IP Group topped the FTSE 250 on the back of solid results.
The firm, which invests in technology businesses, reported a £53.4million profit in 2017, up from a £14.8million loss the year before. Its shares were up by 6.7 per cent, or 7.2p, to 114.6p.
Stock Watch – RM2 International
A fundraising drive has nearly halved the value of shares in the pallet maker RM2 International.
The Aim-listed firm placed more than 2.5bn shares at 1p each to raise the £25.6million it needs.
It will use the money to replenish its composite pallet stocks and buy tracking devices to fit on them.
Its shares tanked 46.2 per cent, or 1.5p, to 1.75p.
Separately, the firm said non-executive directors John Walsh and Frederic de Mevius had stepped down.
Sticking with the FTSE 250, a broker cut did nothing to help the shares of doorstep lender Provident Financial.
It has been a troubling year for Provident, which saw nearly £1.7billion wiped off its share price last August following a profit warning and the exit of former chief executive Peter Crook.
Its shares bounced back last month after it announced plans to raise £331million to pay off nearly £200million of fines and repair its damaged balance sheet.
But analysts at Berenberg, the German investment bank, are not rosy about the future, with the City watchdog expected clamp down on providers of credit cards and high-cost credit.
As a result, the bank has downgraded Provident from ‘hold’ to ‘sell’. Berenberg said: ‘Although it is unlikely that any of the new regulation will be catastrophic, we do think that it has the potential to reduce both profitability and growth.’ Shares ended the day down 0.1 per cent, or 0.8p, at 681.6p.
Aim-listed oil and mining firm Alba Mineral Resources asked shareholders for £750,000 to be pumped into its onshore oil and gas sites in the UK as well as mining sites in Greenland and Wales.
Its shares rose 15.7 per cent, or 0.06p, to 0.4p.
Ground engineering contractor Keller splashed out £64.1million, to buy US counterpart Moretrench.
The deal means Keller will be ‘by far the most capable geotechnical solutions provider on the east coast’ of America, it said.
Its shares nudged up 1.5 per cent, or 13p, to 870p.
A strong update caused the shares of online trading platform CMC Markets to boom.
It said net operating income would be significantly above the same period last year, and its shares rose 9 per cent, or 14p, to 169.2p.