Mining stocks drag on the main FTSE indices as results from iron ore specialist BHP Billiton (BLT) disappoint.
Billiton falls 3.4% to 768.1p as it reports earnings significantly below expectations and hints it will go on a spending spree, flagging particular interest in copper and oil. In a widely anticipated move, the miner also slashes its dividend by 74%.
The FTSE 100 is down 0.75% at 5,993.
Falling commodity prices are also taking their tool on emerging markets-focused bank Standard Chartered (STAN), down 5.8% to 410.6p on a £1.1 billion pre-tax loss in 2015. Restructuring costs as well as bad debts and write-downs linked to lower metals and energy prices have been blamed.
Consumer and leisure stocks are among those bucking the trend: hotelier InterContinental Hotels (IHG), bookmaker Ladbrokes (LAD) and specialist lender Provident (PFG) are all among the bigger gainers.
A $1.5 billion (£1.1 billion) special dividend helps InterContinental gain 3.7% to £25.45. It will pay $6.32 per share (the sterling amount will be decided on 12 May) on top of a 40.3p per share normal dividend.
Specialist lender Provident (PFG) gains 3.1% to £32.98 as full year results show profit-before-tax gained 25% to £293 million. Housebuilder Persimmon (PSN) is the biggest winner in the FTSE 100, rising 4.0% to £20.52 on strong full-year results.
Ireland-based ingredients-to-packaged foods play Kerry (KYGA) firms 3.4% to €73.24 (£57.13) on resilient full-year results. These reveal consensus-beating fourth quarter volume growth of 5.7% and an 11.1% total dividend hike to €0.5, underpinned by significantly improved free cash flow.
Kerry boos Stan McCarthy issues a solid 2016 outlook, expecting to achieve 6%-to-10% earnings per share growth for the year.
Embattled rare stamps-to-antiques dealer Stanley Gibbons' (SGI:AIM) dire run continues, the shares slumping a further 33.6% to 42.5p as it flags a £10 million equity raise and warns it will post a loss-before-tax of between £1 million and £2 million for the year to March.
Stanley Gibbons, whose auditor has resigned, blames disappointing sales of rare collectibles to high net worth clients, lower-than-anticipated cost savings from the integration of acquisitions as well as ongoing investment in its online platform for the latest earnings alert.
Gene and cell therapy specialist Oxford BioMedica (OXB) dives 6.7% to 6.5p on plans for an £8.1 million placing at a 10% discount to Monday’s closing price. The proceeds will fund its development work.