London shares nudge lower in early trade on Thursday despite gains by retail sector outfits Sports Direct (SPD) and Kingfisher (KGF), today's biggest Footsie leaders, against a backcloth of easing mining and financial stocks. The FTSE 100 is off around 7 points at 7028, while midcaps decline buy a similar margin to 18,201.
Mike Ashley-founded pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap fashion retailer Sports Direct rises 3.2% to 679.5p as it issues an upbeat update on trading,
Also in positive mood is home improvement giant Kingfisher (KGF), up 3.3% to 378.95p, on a reassuring first quarter update. CEO Veronique Laury flags a good start to the year against tough comparatives.
Antibiotic developer Motif Bio (MTFB:AIM) advances 7.5p to 35.5p on US regulator the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) clearing its iclaprim treatment to enter phase III trials – the last step before a decision on its reaching the market is made. The company, which listed April 2, specialises in making drugs that fight multi-drug resistant bacteria.
Marimedia (MARI:AIM) collapses 40% to 70.5p as it says an industry shift towards mobile phones has caused directors to transition the business fully to mobile. This means putting resources into building Taptica's capabilities, which they see as the foundation for generating value. It will no longer invest in its now non-core legacy display business.
Mining minnow Connemara Mining (CON:AIM) leaps 23% to 2p on positive prospecting news. The company says prospecting at the five-licence block of ground in the Inishowen area of Donegal has located quartz-vein boulders up to 45cm in diameter containing encouraging grade gold. Gold grades obtained include 15.35g/t, 15.7g/t, 6.99g/t, 4.52g/t, and 5.42g/t.
Camco Clean Energy (CCE:AIM) is up 12% to 5.88p after closing a structured transaction with a major multinational corporation to assign its rights to the future stream of certain California Carbon Offsets generated between 2015 and 2020 from the majority of agricultural methane projects that it manages on behalf of its dairy partners.
Stellar Diamonds (STEL:AIM) jumps 13.5% to 1.05p as it confirms sales of $505,000 from the auction of diamonds from its 75%-owned, Baoule kimberlite pipe in Guinea. This brings 2015 sales to date to more than $922,000, of which $700,644 are derived from the trial mine evaluation of Baoule.
European non-life insurer Gable (GAH:AIM) reports record premiums for 2014 at £80 million, a 35.8% rise in 12 months. Profit taking sees the shares slide 11.4% to 31.8p as its strong performance continued in the first quarter.
Online bingo operator Stride Gaming (STR:AIM) gains 3% to 197.5p after its maiden results reveal a 173% increase in revenue to £11.7 million for the six months to 28 February, driven by its acquisition of Table Top Entertainments in September. The group, which listed on 19 May, made a pre-tax profit of £1.57 million compared with a loss of £127,000 the previous year.
Mid cap oil firm Premier Oil (PMO) is just about in positive territory, after making bigger gains earlier, as its operated Isobel Deep well off the Falklands delivers a technical discovery. The shares are up 1% to 157.3p, its partner on the well Rockhopper Exploration (RKH:AIM) itself gains 5.4% to 64p. The relatively muted reaction reflects both the work needed to confirm this is a commercial discovery and also the fact that the previous big find off the islands - Sea Lion - is still some way off first production some five years after it was made.
Marketing and PR outfit Porta Communications (PTCM:AIM) is surrendering earlier gains as enthusiasm for its preliminary results begins to wane. Now down 1.75% to 7p as the market perhaps reacts to the fact the business remains loss-making in pre-tax terms to the tune of £1.5 million. There were some undoubted positives in the numbers: organic growth for the year was 75%; while average gross profit per employee increased by a third to £100,000; and the client base grew by 140 to 450 in 2014.
Applegreen, a leading petrol forecourt retailer in the Republic of Ireland with a growing UK presence, issues its intention to float on AIM and Dublin’s junior market, the ESM. The company plans to float in the second half of June through a €70 million placing.