UK stocks post modest declines in early trade on Monday as investors react to a worse-than-anticipated report on Chinese manufacturing. That fuels ongoing concerns about the slowdown in the world’s second largest economy. The FTSE 100 dipped around 8 points lower in response to 6,351, although midcaps and smaller companies are both up, the FTSE 250 close to 30 points higher at 17,146, the FTSE Small Cap index around 8 points to the good at 4,607.
On the company news front, Hikma (HIK) leads the blue chips south with a 5.2% slide to 2051.5p after telling the market that its generics business is acting as a short-term drag on an otherwise stable operation.
Also lower is banking group HSBC (HSBA), off around 1% to 502.7p. The bank reports adjusted third quarter pre-tax profit up 32%, yet that still missed analysts’ expectations. Having to pay fewer fines helps the performance.
Elsewhere, Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) remains in the red after completing the sale of its Butagaz liquefied petroleum gas business in France to DCC Energy for €464 million following the announcement in May. The shares drift 11p to £16.89.
Among the bigger overs, US-based oil minnow Caza Oil & Gas (CAZA:AIM) dives 30% to 0.33p as it warns any solution to its funding crisis is likely to lead to 'significant dilution' for existing shareholders.
eSports business Gfinity (GFIN:AIM) tumbles 11% to 21.8p after its loss before tax widens from £345,039 to £3.58 million in the 12 months to 30 June, reflecting the planned investment made following its stock market listing in December 2014. Revenue is up by 163% to £560,828 from a mix of sponsorship, fees from game publishers, premium subscriptions and ticket sales. The group intends to raise £1 million through a share placing to enhance Gfinity TV, develop a mobile app and stage the 2016 Gfinity Championship series, although the cash call is priced at a potentially hefty 22% discount to Friday's 24.5p close.
Mining minnow Stellar Diamonds (STEL:AIM) slumps 20% to 3p as it proposes a capital reorganisation with every 50 existing shares of 1p each consolidated into 1 share of 50p. Each consolidated share would then be divided into 1 new ordinary share of 1p and 1 new deferred shares of 49p.
Another mining firm is also heavily in the red, Atalaya Mining (ATYM:AIM) crashing 17% to 81.5p. The company has been handed a formal claim, filed in the High Court of Justice in London, from Astor Management regarding deferred consideration following the EMED Tartessus acquisition in 2008.