London shares drift in early trade on Monday as investors mull inconclusive talks over the weekend between Greece and its international creditors, offsetting some positive blue-chip corporate news. The FTSE 100 index slips 25 points lower, or 0.25%, although it remains comfortably above the psychological 7,000 level, at 7,046.
Among the Footsie leaders, banking group HSBC (HSBA) rises 3.4% to 651.2p following its hint on Friday afternoon that it is considering moving its headquarters outside of the UK to cut its tax bill. There's also reports it may sell or float its UK retail arm.
A ruling from the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) paves the way for the development of Tullow Oil's (TLW) TEN project offshore Ghana prompting a 4.3% rise to 435.9p. You can read our exclusive web story here.
British Gas-owner Centrica (CNA) continues to trade in line with the guidance provided at the time of its 2014 Preliminary Results in February. That implies improved year-on-year profitability downstream expected to be more than offset by the impact of lower commodity prices on the upstream business. You can read Shares recent Centrica identity crisis feature here. The shares are roughly flat at 264.3p.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has sold another portfolio of loan commitments to Japanese lender Mizuho for a cash consideration of $500 million. In the year ending 31 December 2014 the securities generated a profit after tax of approximately $20 million. The shares nudge 1.3% lower to 349.3p.
Among the bigger movers, a surprise rebound in iron ore prices is having a positive impact on junior miners previously expected to struggle under a depressed commodity price environment. Ferrum Crescent (FCR:AIM) soars by 25% to 0.5p and Sula Iron & Gold (SULA:AIM) jumps 21.7% to 1.4p. Iron ore has increased by 23% in value over the past three weeks, although it is worth noting that this is from a low base and that it still remains in bleak territory.
Recruiter and outsourcer Staffline (STAF:AIM) gains 17% to 949p as it pulls off what looks like a stunning deal to buy A4e, a welfare to work and skills and training provider. The Nottingham-based outfit is paying £34.5 million, which includes A4e’s outstanding debt, valuing the acquisition at just 2.5 times earnings before tax, depreciation and amortisation.
Red24 (REDT:AIM), up 8.6% to 17.38p, says trading during the latter part of the year to 31 March 2015 continued to improve, particularly in the group's consultancy and special risk areas. It sees its full year financial performance ahead of board expectations.
Skin care specialist Sinclair IS Pharma (SPH:AIM) gains 5.9% to 44.5p on securing regulatory approval to sell face lifting technique Silhouette Instalift in the US. Peak sales of $200 million are expected.
ServicePower Technologies (SVR:AIM), up 2.7% to 4.75p, has signed a contract with US manufacturer and marketer of automotive appearance protection products, PermaPlate. It also announced a contract extensions with a UK loss adjusting and claims management company, and a global fire protection and security solutions firm.