London's FTSE 100 edges 9.71 points higher to 6,510.85 on Monday, with another drop in the oil price and European worries curtailing gains. Among the week's early winners is online domestic appliances retailer AO World (AO.), bid 7.2% higher to 264.8p on a strong Christmas trading statement. AO website sales grew 38% in the third quarter to December, during which the televisions-to-washing machines seller AO coped admirably with 'Black Friday'. There's also a positive operational update on AO's early-stage German business to cheer investors.
Africa and Middle East-based oil producer Afren (AFR) slumps 23.1% to 30.24p as it slashes resource estimates for its Barda Rash field in Kurdistan, northern Iraq. The company says it is considering strategic options for the project as an updated reserves audit eliminated gross proved and probable (2P) reserves of 190 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) and slashed contingent resources from more than 1.2 billion boe to just 250 million boe. Read our news analysis here.
Oil rig refurbishment and manufacturing play Lamprell (LAM) falls 13.3% to 97.6p as it reveals lower oil prices mean revenue for 2015 will be 10% below current expectations. The company also says 'intense competition' will pressure margins.
As the European oil benchmark Brent slumps to less than $50 per barrel - and Goldman Sachs predicts a fall to $42 per barrel - the wider energy sector remains under pressure. Perhaps most notably, oil services firm Hunting (HTG) is down 9.3% at 434.9p.
Drug-maker Shire (SHP) sheds a penny at £47.40 after agreeing to buy US rare disease-focused biotech NPS Pharma (NPSP:NDQ). Unveiling its biggest ever acquisition, Shire says it will pay $5.2 billion in cash for NPS, a 51% premium to the target's December 16 closing price. Read our news analysis here.
Drug delivery specialist Skyepharma (SKP) falls 17.2% to 284.1p on profit-taking following the delivery of in-line 2014 results. Reasons for the share price reverse include news the company will carry some restructuring costs and research and development (R&D) spend is to increase.
Cancer and infectious disease-focused drug developer Redx Pharma announces plans to join Aim next month. Liverpool-based Redx will use the £20 million it is looking to raise to develop an immunology business.
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) joins the growing chorus of housebuilders telling the market the UK property rally is drawing to a close. Shares cheapen 1.9% to 123.3p as the High Wycombe-headquartered builder says it is witnessing 'a return to a healthier and more balanced housing market after a very strong first half of the year.'
Sports nutrition specialist Science in Sport (SIS:AIM), a running Shares Play of the Week, skips 3.4% higher to 76p as it announces the launch of the SiS Whey Protein range. This marks the first time the company has developed products for the high-growth protein market for muscle development.
Best of the Best (BEST:AIM), which runs competitions to win luxury prizes at airports and online, rises 2% to 71.5p as interims show pre-tax profits 64% ahead at £360,000 on sales up 8.5% to £3.75 million.
A strong trading update sends Nationwide Accident Repair Services (NARS:AIM) 9% higher to 75p. Management anticipates 2014 revenue at £184 million, more than 17.5% higher year-on-year, driven in part by acquisitions.
The exit of its chief executive officer (CEO) and finance director, as well as a default on a loan to Standard Bank, sends mining support services outfit Shaft Sinkers (SHFT) 58% lower to 2.35p.