IQE (LSE: IQE) designs and manufactures semi-conductor wafers for the electronics industry. The Cardiff-based company was founded in 1988 and floated on the Nasdaq exchange in 1999, and the London Stock Exchange a year later. Turnover and profits are increasing steadily. For the six months to 30 June 2016 the firm made a pre-tax profit of £10m, up from £4.5m for the same period a year earlier. In the last year, the share price has risen by more than 160%.
Be glad you didn't
Foxtons (LSE: FOXT) is a residential estate agent that was founded in London's Notting Hill in 1981, and which is still primarily focused on the capital, where it also operates a mortgage-broking business. The slowdown in the London property market has proved "challenging" and the management expects conditions to remain tough through 2017. A profit warning in June 2016 sent the share price down by 23% it has fallen by more than 70% since the peak in 2014, and by 37% in the last year.
Ben studied modern languages at London University's Queen Mary College. After dabbling unhappily in local government finance for a while, he went to work for The Scotsman newspaper in Edinburgh. The launch of the paper's website, scotsman.com, in the early years of the dotcom craze, saw Ben move online to manage the Business and Motors channels before becoming deputy editor with responsibility for all aspects of online production for The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and the Edinburgh Evening News websites, along with the papers' Edinburgh Festivals website.
Ben joined MoneyWeek as website editor in 2008, just as the Great Financial Crisis was brewing. He has written extensively for the website and magazine, with a particular emphasis on alternative finance and fintech, including blockchain and bitcoin. As an early adopter of bitcoin, Ben bought when the price was under $200, but went on to spend it all on foolish fripperies.
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