Early gains on London markets fade fast as shares hit the skids in morning trade on Wednesday, pulling the rug from under record highs for UK blue-chips as Tesco's (TSCO) record losses drag. The FTSE 100, which touched a high of 7,092.34 early on, falls 40-odd points, or 0.6%, to 7,021, with midcaps sliding similarly to 17,632.
Yet shares in the UK's grocery titan Tesco actually rise 2.65p (1.13%) to 237.4p, despite unveiling dire annual numbers to end-February, that include the biggest loss by a UK retailer. CEO Dave Lewis announces a £1.4 billion trading profit, in line with expectations but down 60% year-on-year, as well as a 3.6% decline in UK like-for-like sales. The most eye-catching figure is the supermarket's record statutory pre-tax loss of £6.4 billion, struck after a £4.7 billion property portfolio write-down. Watch today's Shares interview with Dave Lewis.
Aero-engineer Rolls-Royce (RR.) haeds the Footsie leader board on Wednesday as investors cheer the appointment of former ARM (ARM) boss Warren East as its in-waiting CEO. That news comes after current chief John Rishton announces his decision to retire in July. The shares rally almost 4% to £10.46.
Among the bigger movers, tiddler resources stock Eurasia Mining (EUA:AIM) slumps 22.6% to 0.6p after raising £515,700 at a 29% discount to last night's closing price. The boss of the Russia-focused metals explorer actually apologises in the announcement for diluting existing shareholders.
Investor speculation over securing the final slug of money to complete a tungsten mine in Zimbabwe sends Premier African Minerals (PREM:AIM) up 10.9% to 1.83p. The stock is now up 26% since we highlighted its re-rating potential in Shares a week ago.
US unconventional hydrocarbon play Rose Petroleum (ROSE) falls 9.8% to 1.15p as the well-regarded head of its North American operations John Blair departs the company with immediate effect. The company gives no reason for his departure but announces he will be replaced by current senior vice president of operations Ty Watson.
A tough start to the year for US equipment rental outfit United Rentals (URI:NYSE) sees UK-listed peer Ashtead (AHT) fall 2.9% in sympathy. United Rentals chief executive Michael Kneeland says in a first quarter trading update there are ‘early headwinds’ in 2015 including declining upstream oil and gas activity and harsh weather.
Video games producer Frontier Developments (FDEV:AIM) gains 2.8% to 218.5p on news total sales of Elite: Dangerous now exceed 500,000. The group expects revenue of over £22 million for the year ending 31 May 2015, above the guidance of £19 million given at its January trading update.
Online gaming products developer Gaming Realms (GMR:AIM) climbs 3% to 34.5p on a 12-fold increase in revenue to £11.2 million for the 15 months to 31 December 2014. The group's EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) loss is 5% better than expected at £7.8 million.
Private label shower gels-to-shampoos developer McBride (MCB) is marked up 0.75p to 96.25p. A positive third quarter trading update flags progress with UK restructuring and continued growth in Germany.