UK shares start the week with a whimper, the FTSE 100 staying largely flat as investor mood remains dogged by continuing uncertainty around Greece's future and on the heels of mixed foreign trade numbers overnight from China. The Footsie is a fraction lower at 6,802, while its a similar story across the midcaps and wider market, whjere the FTSE 250 is trading at 17,930, and the FTSE All-Shares at 3,711.
In corporate news, Johnnie Walker whisky-to-Smirnoff vodka producer Diageo (DGE) froths up 7% to £18.84 on whispers Brazilian billionaire Jorge Paulo Lemann and his partners at private equity player 3G Capital are mulling a bid for the spirits giant.
Telecoms giant BT (BT.A) could become a takeover target for Deutsche Telekom (DTEGN:DE) as an international telecoms merger frenzy intensifies, according to senior industry executives and City analysts. The German giant is said to be talks to merge its American arm, T-Mobile US, with the satellite pay-TV operator Dish Networks, a move that experts say wuld increase the chances of the German approaching its UK peer.
FTSE 100 drug giant Shire (SHP) slips 1.8% to £53.55 on rumours it’s preparing a £12 billion takeover of Swiss rare disease outfit Actelion (ACT:SIX).
London-focused estate agency Foxtons (FOXT) falls 4.3% to 236.8p on fears it could face a huge legal bill after one of its customers successfully sued the company for charging £616 to change a light fitting, according to reports. The ruling could lead to other landlords seeking compensation similar work carried out on their properties.
The takeover battle for coal miner Asia Resource Minerals (ARMS) intensifies as suitor ACE raises its bid from 41p to 56p per share. Founder and 17.2% shareholder Nat Rothschild looks to be in support of the higher offer, according to documents from ACE. The shares are currently suspended.
Among the bigger movers, Trinidad oil producer Range Resources (RRL:AIM) gains 65% to 0.88p as it resumes trading having received the first tranche of funds from the financing deal agreed with Beijing Sibo Investment Management. Having essentially been priced to go bust news the company has received £5.2 million in fresh capital prompted a big relief rally - if it takes the full $35 million on offer Beijing Sibo will own 36% of the company.
North Sea hydrocarbons play Trap Oil (TRAP:AIM) - which like Range was trading very depressed levels due to concerns over its finances - gains 75% to 0.55p as it announces a rig has been mobilised to drill its 28% owned Niobe prospect.
A funding agreement sends micro cap miner Armadale Capital (ACP:AIM) soaring on the stock market, up 122.2% to 0.05p. It says contractor A-MCS will find investors to provide at least $20 million of loan financing to help bring the Democratic Republic of Congo-based Mpokoto gold into production.
There's similar financing news behind a 30% rise in Mineral IRL (MIRL:AIM) to 6.5p. The South American gold producer has secured a $70 million bridging loan and mandate letter for up to $240 million to bring its Ollachea project into production.
Clean energy tidder Renewable Energy (REH:AIM) crashes 21% to 1.63p as it remains in the red for the full year to March. Pre-tax losses narrowed from £1.4 million to £1.35 million.
Atlantic Coal (ATC:AIM), down 20% to 0.12p, books soaring full year pre-tax losses of $3.5 million, up from $1.5 million in 2013. Sales were lower despite record production of more than 165,000 tons. Average sales price for Stockton anthracite (all grades) rose 2.3% from $117.89 in 2013 to $120.79 in 2014.
Fantasy miniatures maker Games Workshop (GAW) falls 0.8% to 499p after warning that declines in own-store sales and unfavourable exchange rates will likely result in a 5% drop in retail sales and a 3% drop in trade sales for the year to 31 May. The group's profit is expected to be broadly in line with market expectations.
Respiratory disease drug developer Verona Pharma (VRP:AIM) climbs 7.8% to 5.5p on upbeat Phase I/II safety trials for its RPL554 candidate. The results of further rests are expected in the second half of the year.