London's FTSE 250 was up 0.67% at 19,413.10 in afternoon trade on Friday, as a surge from Restaurant Group propelled the index upward.
The outfit served up strong gains as the 8% drop in full-year pre-tax profit was better than expected, and the company – which bought Wagamama last year – reported an uptick in full-year sales.
Canaccord analysts said: “We expect TRG to double the number of concession/super-site restaurants as it should be able to leverage the brand into UK airports via its concessions division. Longer-term, the big question is can TRG develop a substantial Asian food stand-alone delivery business? We think it has a good chance and the opportunity could be substantially bigger than the UK restaurant business.”
Meanwhile, Stobart was also on the way up after having been confirmed as the new operator of Durham Tees Valley Airport and Sophos recovered after dropping on the back of a Deutsche Bank price cut in the previous session.
Pub chain EI Group was on the rise as it said that it has completed the sale of its commercial property portfolio, the proceeds of which will be used to pay down debt and return up to Â£35m to shareholders via a share buyback programme.
Food companies Greencore and Bakkavor were respectively cut from 'buy' to 'hold' and from 'hold' to 'sell' by Berenberg, where analysts turned cautious on the companies' near term outlook.
“With political and economic uncertainties continuing to weigh on consumer confidence, shoppers are at present reverting to more cautious spending patterns. Furthermore, raw material and labour cost inflation headwinds appear to have accelerated, putting pressure on margins. We believe Greencore is better placed than Bakkavor to offset these challenges and should also benefit from higher levels of free cash flow and return on capital,” said the analysts.
Cairn Energy was also lower as analysts at RBC cut the stock from 'outperform' to 'sector perform' and lowered its target price to 225p from 380p, arguing that delays to an Indian ruling on a long-running $1.4bn arbitration case have deferred the chance of a quick 160p per-share payout.
Finally, precious metals miners Acacia Mining, Centamin and Hochschild were all lower after gold prices fell.
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,413.10 0.67%
FTSE 250 – Risers
Restaurant Group (RTN) 138.50p 9.40%
Sophos Group (SOPH) 329.20p 4.51%
Dixons Carphone (DC.) 144.15p 4.46%
Genus (GNS) 2,491.45p 4.24%
Fisher (James) & Sons (FSJ) 2,225.00p 4.22%
UDG Healthcare Public Limited Company (UDG) 585.50p 4.18%
Energean Oil & Gas (ENOG) 805.60p 3.95%
Stobart Group Ltd. (STOB) 177.60p 3.86%
Contour Global (GLO) 189.40p 3.50%
EI Group (EIG) 208.00p 3.48%
FTSE 250 – Fallers
Greencore Group (GNC) 199.20p -4.09%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 171.40p -3.00%
Acacia Mining (ACA) 197.55p -2.59%
Apax Global Alpha Limited (APAX) 140.50p -2.43%
Just Group (JUST) 83.50p -2.11%
Jupiter European Opportunities Trust (JEO) 714.00p -1.92%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 91.08p -1.79%
Bakkavor Group (BAKK) 126.60p -1.71%
Intu Properties (INTU) 108.80p -1.63%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 194.05p -1.57%