London markets lose early gains to nudge modestly lower in early trade Monday despite investors seeking bargains and news that most major European banks have passed recent 'stress tests'. The benchmark FTSE 100 slips 13 points lower to 6,375 having edged around 25 points higher at the start of the session, perhaps demonstrating the still fragile sentiment of the market over all.
Oil majors act as a major drag, under pressure as Goldman Sachs slashes its Brent crude oil price forecast for the first quarter of 2015 by $15 a barrel to $85. BP (BP.) sinks 0.5% to 430.65p, BG (BG.) is off 0.7% to £10.36 and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) 0.6% to £22.72.
But travel stocks are among the best performers as investors hunt down discounted stocks after recent Ebola virus scares hit the sector. Intercontinental Hotels (IHG) heads the Footsie leader board, up 2.3% at £22.68, closely followed by TUI Travel (TUI), up 2.2% to 373.6p, and cruise group Carnival (CCL), which is 1.5% higher at £23.84.
Emergency power generation provider APR Energy (APR) continues its dramatic slide, dropping a further 54p to 343p, or 13.5%, as it warns on growth in 2015. In a third-quarter update, APR says customers are hesitant to commit to projects and also guides earnings expectations lower for the financial year ending December. Shares in APR are down 36% in the last month.
Metrology and healthcare components supplier Renishaw (RSW) expects upbeat trading to continue into the second half, news that lifts the shares 3.5% to £16.46. Demand is currently strong although Shares recently cautioned over one-off contracts and their effect.
Pet accessories-to-veterinary surgeries play Pets at Home (PETS) adds another 2.8p at 181.8p as it hosts an analyst and investor site visit. Investors are still purring following Friday's positive first half trading update.
Haversham Holdings is planning a £30 million fundraising on the Alterative Investments Market (AIM). The cash shell is headed by widely-respected former Stobart (STOB) chief Avril Palmer-Baunack.
Rugged computer components manufacturer Solid State (SOLI:AIM) rallies 2.5% to 612.5p as it tells the market results will be 'significantly ahead' of last year, although in line with current expectations of £2.8 million pre-tax profit and 29.7p of EPS.
Speciality annuity provider Partnership Assurance (PA.) rises 1.2% to 94.6p as regulator the FCA ends a year-long probe into the company.