London stocks decline in quiet trade early on Wednesday as oil prices reverse gains in the previous session. Brent crude falls 1.9% to $37.06 per barrel and West Texas Intermediate drops 2.5% to $36.93 per barrel. A slump in metal prices also drags mining stocks lower, with heavyweights BHP Billiton (BLT), Glencore (GLEN) and Rio Tinto (RIO) all nudging south.
The FTSE 100 index falls 40 points, or around 0.6%, to 6,279, while midcaps follow suit, although smaller companies remain largely flat.
House builders are on the back foot led by Barratt Developments (BDEV), down 0.8% to 628.75p, and Taylor Wimpey (TW.), off 0.8% at 202.5p. The sector rose on Tuesday as traders moved to factor in the chronic shortage of UK housing stock. Commercial property, supermarkets and utilities also ease off.
Online supermarket Ocado (OCDO) is marked down 3.5% to 314.6p, with sentiment souring on reports US tech goliath Amazon (AMZN:NDQ) is preparing to dramatically expand the range of grocery products it sells in the New Year.
Erstwhile Mercedes Vito taxi supplier Eco City Vehicles (ECV:AIM), which has emerged from administration as a cash shell on the hunt for assets across the telecommunications, media and technology sectors, speeds 9.5% higher to 2.88p after raising £5 million at 1.22p in a funding backed by directors.
Broadcast media minnow Mirada (MIRA:AIM) jumps 19% to 5.5p as it posts a marginally narrower interim pre-tax loss of £800,000, from £880,000. Revenue was £2.3 million, roughly flat from last year's £2.2 million. Admin costs are blamed for the loss, although management is hopeful that it remains on track to produce a full year performance in line with market views.
Resources tiddler Ruspetro (RPO:AIM) leaps 18.5% to 5.63pas it confirms that Bank Otkritie Financial has accepted its proposal to agree new covenants on loan facilities.
Travel business Minoan (MIN:AIM) rises nearly 9% to 7.63p as it explains that the process for approving the presidential decree (PD), which resembles an outline planning consent, is now reaching its final stages.
Finally, software supplier Crimson Tide (TIDE:AIM) rallies a little more than 3% to 3.08p as it begins the process of seeking shareholder approval to undergo a capital reconstruction and has called a General Meeting. Investors are hopeful that this could trigger first dividends from a company that in December flagged the ahead of plan roll-out on a major £1.1 million three-year contract.