Updates from FirstGroup and Oxford Instruments


A +0.43% lift for the FTSE 100 yesterday after Friday's losses. The Board finished 27 points higher at 6,276 with Polymetal International the biggest riser, up +5.25%. Resolution Ltd saw the steepest dip, down -1.69%.

The Dow Jones rose +0.33% to 14,613. Overnight the Japanese Nikkei 100 gave up Monday's gains, falling -0.06% to 13,184.
We commence with a trading update from FirstGroup. Overall trading for the year up to 31 March is in line with management's expectations. The company, recovering from the botched Department of Transport debacle over the west coast rail franchise last year, says the sale of eight UK Bus depots in London will raise £80m.

However US dollar revenues are expected to be cut by 2.9% on a like-for-like basis; expectations for underlying margin performance for the year broadly unchanged.

"The Board held the interim dividend at last year's level, following the uncertainty caused by the DfT's decision to delay rail re-franchising, and will consider the full year dividend in May 2013."

Next, an update from Oxford Instruments. The company says continues to trade in line with its "14 Cubed" objectives and expects adjusted profit before tax for the year to 31 March 2013 to be in line with expectations.

Numis Securities reaffirmed their Add rating on Oxford last week with 1,808p target price on the stock. Currently the stock is trading at 1,585p.

However the stock has seen several diverging analyst reports recently with Investec analysts recently taking a Sell view. Oxford Instruments has seen its shares range from 1,081p to 1,717p in the last year.

Finally, oil services operator Wood Group Production Services Network - it employs around than 8,000 people onshore and offshore - has secured a two year North Sea contract extension with TOTAL E&P UK Ltd. The award is anticipated to be valued at $150 million the company claims.

WGPSN will continue to provide engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning services to TOTAL's Alwyn, Dunbar, Elgin and Franklin offshore platforms and the St Fergus onshore gas plant.

TOTAL first awarded WGPSN the contract ten years ago. Wood Group recently won an extension of a North Sea contract for Canadian Natural Resources, worth £119m for the next three years.

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