London's FTSE 100 softens 1.87 points to 6,910.29 on Tuesday, as skittish investors wait to see whether Eurozone finance ministers will sign off on a Greek bailout extension. One of the session's big risers is annuity provider Just Retirement (JRG), which jumps 19.1% to 171p after announcing better-than-expected half-year operating profits of £42.6 million and flagging early signs of a return to growth in sales. Rival annuity provider Partnership Assurance (PA.) advances 7% to 140.5p on the positive read-across.
Specialist equipment rental firm Vp (VP.) is in demand, gaining 5.2% to 623p on news it is seeing stronger construction, housebuilding and infrastructure demand. The oil price slump has had a 'limited impact' on orders from its energy customers, says chief executive Neil Stothard in Vp's latest market missive.
Finance start-up Tungsten Corporation (TUNG:AIM) slumps 13% to 176p as investors sell more than a million shares at the open – more than a day’s worth of average trading volume.
Residential mortgage and small business lender Aldermore is to join the main market next month and raise £75 million of funds for growth. The bank, which pulled its IPO five months ago amid market uncertainty, could be valued at up to £650 million.
Over in the chemicals space, Elementis (ELM) gives up 2.7% at 276.6p despite delivering strong earnings for the year to December. The £1.3 billion cap reports an 8% increase in earnings per share to 24.8 cents, yet the market seems to be weighing future prospects against economic uncertainties in Europe and evolving dynamics in the oilfield sector.
Broader concerns about the housing market ahead of the general election weigh on housebuilder Persimmon (PSN), down 4.2% to £16.39 despite posting impressive annual numbers. Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey (TW.) is also among the fallers, slipping 2.6% to 141.5p.
Aerospace, defence and energy group Meggitt (MGGT) sheds 2.9% to 554.5p after the £4.6 billion cap's full-year results disappoint. The Christchurch-headquartered company posts a 22% slump in pre-tax profit to £208.9 million on sales 5% lower at £1.55 billion.
Value meats retailer Crawshaw (CRAW:AIM) fattens up 11.3% to 42p on a positive trading statement. The expansionist butcher shops chain, whose attractions Shares highlighted here in December, says full-year results will be 'materially higher' than current market forecasts, supported by 5% like-for-like sales growth and margin expansion.
Video games producer Frontier Developments (FDEV:AIM) edges up 0.2% to 240p after pre-release sales of its self-published title Elite: Dangerous drive a 44% increase in revenue to £7.3 million in the six months to November. The game was publicly released in December triggering rapid sales growth to over 300,000 units, which management expects will boost full-year revenue to around £19 million.
East African oil firm Wentworth Resources (WRL:AIM) falls 13.7% to 27p as its Kifuru-1 exploration well on the Rovuma block onshore Mozambique comes in dry. Drilled in partnership with experienced US operator Anadarko (APC:NYSE), the company adds: 'we are working with Anadarko and our partners to evaluate all data collected to determine the next steps in the exploration phase of the onshore Rovuma block'.