UK markets plunge again as opening bell optimism gets turned on its head. Just four FTSE 100 stocks are managing to post gains at 11.30am, consumables distributor Bunzl (BNZL), miners Fresnillio (FRES) and Randgold Resources (RRS), and energy supplier SSE (SSE).
The benchmark FTSE 100 index is falling fast, reversing early trades' 24 point gain to slump another 100 points to 6,110, putting 6,000 well within sight. The Footsie hasn't closed this low since June 2013, although there are still plenty of trading hours left today.
The market is again mauling specialist drugs maker Shire (SHP) as US group AbbVie (ABBV:NYSE) recommends that its shareholders vote against a merger of the two following a tightening of US tax inversion laws. Shares in the UK pharmaceutical company fall another 10%, adding to yesterday's 30% collapse, to £36.01, leading the Footsie fallers.
US billionaire investor Warren Buffett has cut his stake in bowed supermarkets behemoth Tesco (TSCO) to below 3% after reportedly admitting he made a 'huge mistake' by investing in the UK grocer. Buffet owned close on 4% of Tesco in early October but he is clearly having second thoughts.
Newsagent WH Smith (SMWH) rises 4% to £10.35 as good full-year results stoke forecast upgrades. Buoyed by better-than-expected performances in both the high street and travel divisions, pre-tax profits rose 8.8% to £112 million, ahead of consensus. The cash-generative stationer also announces a further £50 million share buyback.
Video games retailer GAME Digital (GMD) sheds 4p to 276p on profit-taking after running up more than 33% since July. The company unveiled encouraging maiden full-year results showing market share gains in the UK and Spain, plus handed investors a positive spin on future trading prospects.
Home improvement group entu announces its intention to float on Aim, with early indications of a possible 8% dividend yield. The company is a developer of windows that convert sunlight into electricity via solar panel technology.
Retirement finance specialist Partnership Assurance (PA.) falls 6% to 86.6p as half year annuity sales slide 65.5% to £69 million, a direct response to the government's abolition of compulsory annuity purchases on retirement.
Premium drinks powerhouse Diageo (DGE) surprisingly nudges 13p higher to £17.23 after a sobering first quarter trading update. The numbers reveal organic sales down 1.5% amid weakness everywhere from Russia and Nigeria to China. The Johnnie Walker-to-Smirnoff owner also warns exchange rate movements could wipe £95 million from full-year operating profits.