London's FTSE 100 gains another 28.78 points at 6,707.39 amid thin trading ahead of the festive holidays and a 12.30 Christmas Eve market close. While newsflow is thin on the ground, one large cap casualty is Tullow Oil (TLW), 11.5p cheaper at 836.5p. The global resources giant disappoints with news a well on the Mantra prospect offshore Norway failed to find oil or gas and will now 'be logged before being plugged and abandoned'.
During a lively session for retailers, Mike Ashley's Sports Direct International (SPD) sprints 7p higher to 724.5p, regaining some of the ground lost following strong half-year results (12 Dec) which nevertheless failed to trigger hoped-for forecast upgrades. Also in good form is sportswear rival JD Sports Fashion (JD.), a pace-setter with a 3.8% gain to £13.95 and Marks & Spencer (MKS), which adds 4.9p to 452p to reverse recent losses. Heading south is sector star turn Next (NXT), which sheds 25p to £54.20 with investors remaining jittery about the UK High Street.
Real estate development giant British Land (BLND) puts on 5p to 628p on news it is developing a 4 million square foot office, retail and leisure complex close to London’s Liverpool Street train station. The £6.2 billion cap will work on the project with GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund.
Desperate times for pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond (ABM:AIM) which sees its shares lose more than 5% to 18.25p as one of its mooted buyers, private equity firm Better Capital, walks away. Albemarle shares have collapsed from 131.5p since September on funding woes.
Graphene-based drilling fluids supplier Graphene NanoChem (GRPH:AIM) is being chased higher, the shares rallying 16% to 119.5p. This continues a run that has fired the shares up from 73p in a week, a 64% surge, after its update on its PlatDrill commercialisation development.
Global payments platform operator Earthport (EPO:AIM) sets a new 31p share price record, up 2.5% today, having hit 29p for the very first time yesterday. Investors are clearly excited by the global potential for low value remittance transaction build after its recent expanded contract with Bank of America, an initial contract Shares flagged in its early December Play of the Week at 24p.
Regeneration specialist Sigma Capital (SGM:AIM) advances 1.2% to 40p on news it has made a £60,000 profit on the sale of its remaining stake in Frontier IP (FIPP:AIM), as it refocuses on its property activities and withdraws from venture capital.