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Morses Club, Quantum Blockchain and ASOS Among Movers on AIM This Week

Home-based moneylender Morses Club has seen its shares more than halve in value as it prepares to say goodbye to AIM, after announcing to investors on Wednesday that it intended to re-register as a company private.

The lender is under scrutiny for its methods, including sending agents to customers to finalize credit agreements and collect weekly repayments, and shares have been steadily falling since 2019.

His decision to leave AIM after just over six years was the result of a “detailed review to assess the pros and cons for the group,” according to this week’s stock exchange statement.

The review concluded that negative sentiments in the public markets, amid the growing number of customer complaints, left the company’s position on AIM untenable.

The cost of maintaining a listing (Morses estimates around £5m a year) was also seen as a factor, particularly as the company says it currently sees no benefit in terms of access to capital, and nor does it provide significant liquidity to investors.

In the broader marker, small caps rose with the AIM 100 index up 1.4% to 4,132 – amid near-record strengthening and benchmark FTSE 100.

Quantum Blockchain (QBT) shares continued to rise at a rapid pace building on last week’s strength, they are now up around 90% to 2p in the past five days.

QBT brought on Dr. Lov Kumar Grover, a leading theorist in the field of quantum computing, for a three-month contract.

The move is in line with QBT’s strategy to make mining cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, cheaper and more efficient.

The applications of quantum computing, however, could extend far beyond cryptocurrency mining.

Its potentially vast processing power is set to revolutionize all sorts of industries with artificial intelligence and natural language processing (the kind of technology used by ChatGPT, the super-popular chatbot that currently costs its owners around $3 million per month). day to operate).

Quantum computers exploit the qualities of quantum physics to store data and perform calculations. Simply put, this means lightning-fast computing and hyper-multitasking without losing efficiency.

Elsewhere, it was a big week for AIM’s biggest company as beleaguered online retailer ASOS managed a rally, rebounding around 21%, to 715p, as its trade update reassured investors that “significant progress” was being made on a turnaround plan.

Chief executive José Antonio Ramos Calamonte outlined four actions last October as part of a 12-month plan to reinvigorate the company which has suffered after the pandemic.

ASOS is renewing its business model and improving inventory management to reduce its cost profile while trying to retain some strength and flexibility in its balance sheet.

City analysts, meanwhile, believe investors have been particularly encouraged by the suggestion that the retailer will see £300m of ‘profit optimization’.

Firm with spiced rum and black vodka Distill (AIM:DIS) Brands endured a particularly difficult week as it revealed low and lower market expectations, trading up to and including the Christmas period.

While sales are down, the company also noted issues that led to a major customer cutting a key order by 50%.

Virgin Wines suffered a similar but slightly different set of problems as Branson’s former direct-to-consumer winemaker gave reasons for his profit warning, including what he said was a 1.7million drop sterling due to the Queen’s death (which apparently hampered marketing campaigns).

He said on Thursday that full-year revenue and profit are now expected to be lower than 2022 and his shares duly fell 24% to 53p.

Small-cap North Sea explorer Deltic Energy climbed 33% to 2.6p after Shell (Deltic’s exploration partner) confirmed the discovery of gas in the Pensacola well, which is currently being tested.

Tekmar Group, a contractor in the offshore energy sector, announced a series of contract awards on Tuesday that helped push its shares up some 33% to 17.4p.

Elsewhere in the tech sector, Cambridge-based video game developer Frontier Developments plunged 47% to 465p after issuing a profit warning.

Frontier, behind games such as Warhammer 40,000L Chaos Gate- Daemonhunters and F1 Manager 2022, said it expects its full-year operating profit to be below the market consensus forecast of 19 million pounds.

It wasn’t the only one, as rival Devolver echoed the same tune as it updated investors, slipping 8% to 55p, after forecasting a decline in full-year earnings.

Costs related to underperforming stocks and weak sales in December led to weaker-than-expected performance in the second half.

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