London markets chase European falls as uncertainty hangs over the euro zone after Sunday's Greek elections, which saw anti-austerity party Syriza top the polls. Greece is now on a possible collision course with the EU over its massive bailout. Falling resources stocks also provided southbound cue.
The FTSE 100 reverses 13 points, or 0.2%, to 6,819, while the mid cap FTSE 250 posts similar declines, off 28 points at 16,431. WTI crude oil is down 1.3% to $45/bbl, while Brent follows, off 1.4% to $48.12/bbl.
Resources stocks lead the pack lower, with miner BHP Billiton (BLT) heading the Footsie fallers, down 3.5% at £13.755, followed by Anglo American (AAL) (3.2% down at £10.68) and Glencore (GLEN). China's flagging economy continues to affect sector sentiment, while the oil sector remains under the cosh. Tullow Oil (TLW), down 3.6% to 357.95p, BP (BP.) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) all trailing.
Further down the ladder were financials. Standard Chartered (STAN) leads banks with a fall of 1.8% to 934.05p, while Prudential (PRU) loses 0.7% to £16.1625 to pilot insurers. Supermarkets also suffer, led by a 1.5% fall in Morrisons (MRW) to 196.05p, while several utility stocks taper off behind Centrica's (CNA) 1.% slide to 267.2p. SSE (SSE) is surprisingly not among them despite announcing its own 4.1% gas tariff price cut that could impact earnings, following other Big 6 suppliers. The shares actually nudge 1.3% higher on Monday to £15.12, although the price had already come off more than 5% this month.
Construction group Balfour Beatty (BBY) falls 0.9% to 224.9p as news that it has been appointed as preferred bidder for University of Sussex's £120 million East Slope Residences project fails to offset a multitude of other negatives.
Among the bigger movers, frontier markets project manager WYG (WYG:AIM) adds 11% to 117p as it announces a strategy review which could lead to a sale of the company. Management is considering a range of options, including a sale, merger, acquisition or a continuation of the existing strategy.
Temporary energy provider APR Energy (APR) pulls the plug on its Libyan operations, after months of tortuous negotiations with the country’s government over a contract. Management says turbines in the country will be deployed elsewhere. Shares trade 13% lower at 152p.
UK shale gas specialist IGas Energy (IGAS:AIM) slumps 25% to 20.25p as Westhouse Securities downgrades the stock from buy to neutral and cuts its price target to 25p. The broker cites Lancashire County Council's decision to block privately-owned Cuadrilla from drilling shale gas wells in its jurisdiction and a recommendation from the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) that there should be a moratorium on shale gas fracking in the UK adding that these developments create a, 'a major headwind for IGas, whose valuation upside is contingent on shale gas development progressing'.
Sable Mining Africa (SBLM:AIM) jumps 57% to 3.14p as it says its 80%-subsidiary West Africa Exploration SA has signed an infrastructure development agreement with the Government of Liberia.
Data reports automation designer Arria NLG (NLG:AIM) rallies 14.3% to 28p, as its announces an early stage partnership with the IBM Watson Group. As part of the Watson Developer Community, Arria NLG will prototype analytics products for the Oil and Gas sector.
Airline Flybe (FLYB) crashes 22 to 70.25p as leaked bad news on Friday is confirmed in a trading update on Monday, stating ongoing stiff competitive headwinds and too many planes to run. That said, the company also flags further improvement in its core UK business in the three months to end-December. However, fuel hedging benefits will be limited from the collapse in oil prices this year.
Bombed-out horticulture products play William Sinclair (SNCL:AIM) nudges 2.3% higher at 44p on the appointment of garden wholesaler Decco as its national retail distributor.
Cash-generative PVCu windows and doors retailer Safestyle UK (SFE:AIM) skips 2% higher to 177.88p on a strong year-end trading update. For its first full year as a quoted company, Safestyle highlights growth in sales, market share and pre-tax profits, the latter expected to meet the £16.7 million consensus estimate.