MARKET WATCH

Shares in Pace Micro Technology, the market high-flyer which makes decoder boxes for digital satellite television, crashed 55p to 171.5p (half a penny less than its float price of last June) on Tuesday’s interim warning that the second half would be hit by slower than expected development of digital satellite markets. Pace has been a […]

Shares in Pace Micro Technology, the market high-flyer which makes decoder boxes for digital satellite television, crashed 55p to 171.5p (half a penny less than its float price of last June) on Tuesday’s interim warning that the second half would be hit by slower than expected development of digital satellite markets.

Pace has been a City favourite since its float. At its peak of 244p it was valued at nearly 40 times historic earnings. Profits last year soared to £18.2m against only £3.4m the year before, and forecasts for this year have been as high as £27m. Pace made £10.2m this first half.

Elsewhere, warship builder Vosper Thornycroft hit a new high at 944p on market enthusiasm over the £100m worth of patrol craft business for Qatar set to come its way from the £500m defence deal agreed last November. Broker Panmure Gordon has the shares on buy, forecasting profits of £30.4m this year (£27m).

Babcock recovered further on a £43m petrochemicals plant order which will partly fill the gap left by the recent postponement of business from the Millennium chemicals group. Profits are forecast to double to around £7.5m in the year to March.

For Castings, which touched yet another new high (278p) on market expectations that profits will again forge ahead this year, broker Albert E Sharp forecasts £10.5m pre-tax for the year ending next month (£9.43m).

Steel processor Precoat International drifted to a 12-month low (157.5p) on market expectations of nil earnings growth in a flat market this year.