London shares fall for the fifth day straight on Thursday with gains across the mining sector unable to halt the slide caused by ongoing concerns over Greece debt talks, inflation, and possible interest rate rises to come. The FTSE 100, which fell to its lowest since January on Wednesday, drifts a further 0.24% lower at 6,660 early on, prolonging its spell in the red.
Small cap explorers Egdon Resources (EDR:AIM) and Europa Oil & Gas (EOG:AIM) are up 9.1% to 15p and 1.5% to 8.25p respectively as they commence an extended well test on their shared Wressle discovery in Lincolnshire. Read Shares exclusive here.
European electricals retailer Darty (DRTY) sparks into life, up 4% to 71.75p as CEO Regis Schultz announces a swing into the black for the year to April. Robust cost control helped Darty's earnings beat expectations in both France and Belgium, prompting UBS to upgrade its price target from 80p to 94p.
Home shopping and education business Findel (FDL) falls 3.3% to 212.5p despite announcing improved annual pre-tax profits, driven by biggest business Express Gifts, and a fall in debt. Disappointment relates to the outlook statement, where Findel flags work to do in turning round sports merchandise e-tailer Kitbag and its struggling education division.
Pound shops chain Poundland (PLND) cheapens 4.8% to 296.05p on a subdued current trading update, flagging a currency headwind and tough first half comparatives. This takes some of the shine off strong finals, showing pre-tax profits up 18.6% to £43.7 million as sales break the £1 billion barrier.
Among the bigger movers, a negative tone in the planning authority's report on Sirius Minerals' (SXX:AIM) proposed potash project in Yorkshire scares investors, sending the share price down 27% to 15.75p. Read Shares exclusive story to get the full details on the situation.
Paragon Diamonds (PRG:AIM) rises 11.3% to 5.81p after securing £500,000 debt financing and announcing plans to buy back shares. Chairman Philip Manduca says the share price 'should already be in double digits' and that it will be at that level once production starts on a new mine. We say never trust a company who gives predictions about its share price.
Data to reports tech designer Arria NLG (NLG:AIM) rallies another 9% to 18.5p as it announces a new proof of concept agreement (PoC) with a globally recognised online travel company, although it fails to reveal its identity.
Elsewhere, infection prevention and hygienic product specialist Tristel (TSTL:AIM) gains 5% to 94.5p on declaring a 3p a share special dividend as management seek to return excess cash to shareholders.
Estate agency Hunters is to float on AIM next month (2 Jul) to help create a 500 branch business.
There's another extremely bullish report on the Horse Hill licences near Gatwick airport, held by a consortium led by bulletin board favourite UK Oil & Gas (UKOG:AIM). Analysis by independent consultant Nutech has identified 9.2 billion barrels of oil in place over the 55 square mile area covered by the licences although after spiking in early trading UK Oil & Gas is now down 0.4% to 2.32p.
Playtech (PTEC) slides 3% to 785p as it unveils plans to raise £250 million via an accelerated bookbuild of up to 29.05 million shares. Demand will determine the price. The placing represents about 9.9% of Playtech's current issued share capital.
Electronic components distributor Premier Farnell (PFL) slides 4.7% to 181p as it reports weaker gross margin in the three months to 3 May. Sales per day at constant currency was up a healthy 5.4% but profit is seen marginally lower in the first half. Sector peer Electrocomponents (ECM) sells off in sympathy, down 2.1% to 226p, while Acal (ACL:AIM) adds 1% to 323p.
Bookmaker William Hill (WMH) slips 1.3% to 402p on news its chief financial officer Neil Cooper is leaving the company to take up the same post at house builder Barratt Developments (BDEV). Cooper has been part of William Hill's management team since May 2010 and his departure date will be confirmed in due course.