The FTSE 100 struggled to get the new week off to a good start, dipping 0.6% to 6,082. The results calendar looks bare for the large cap stocks this week, meaning that the index is likely to be purely driven by investor sentiment towards macro events.
A widely-expected poor takeover offer has emerged for Eurasian Natural Resources (ENRC), leaving the stock flat at 217.4p. The real loser in the deal is Kazakhmys (KAZ) which owns 36% of the ferrochrome producer. Its share price fell 11.1% to 239.4p after the Kazakh government – which is part of the consortium buying ENRC – said it would use its shares in Kazakhmys to help fund the deal. Shareholders in the copper producer were also ditching stock after realising that Kazakhmys is unlikely to get a better price for its holding in ENRC. We look at the situation in more detail here, along with a look at Afferro Mining's takeover.
UK mobile giant Vodafone (VOD) may a have struck a knock-out blow in the battle for German cable group Kabel Deutschland (KD8Gn:DE). Its €7.7 billion (£6.6 billion) move had the Germans snapping its hand off to recommend the acquisition. But Vodafone stayed flat at 175.9p as investors weighed up the possibility of a counter offer by Liberty Global (LBTYA:NDQ) tipping the pair into an expensive bid battle.
Rio Tinto (RIO) dipped 1.8% to £26.26 after deciding to keep its diamonds business, in light of strong market fundamentals. The miner had failed to find a suitable buyer but there has recently been talk of floating the division in London.
Better-than-expected full-year earnings at Indian integrated energy firm Essar Energy (ESSR) helped lift the shares. Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the year to 31 March totalled $1.34 billion against the consensus forecast of $1.17 billion.
Sausage skin maker Devro (DVO) shed 4.7p at 298.3p as downgrades ensued following a warning first half profits would disappoint. In a pre-close trading update, the FTSE 250-listed firm warned of a £3 million decline in first-half operating profits as a result of slower-than-expected sales growth, higher costs and temporary production issues in the US.
Balfour Beatty (BBY) rose 0.5% to 222.2p after the heavy construction specialist won a major Hong Kong road-building contract. Gammon Construction – 50% owned by Balfour Beatty – has secured a HK$8.66 billion (£720 million) contract to design and build the Southern Connection Viaduct Section of the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link, making it the largest solo civil engineering contract ever awarded to the construction venture.
Building supplies group Tyman (TYMN:AIM) increased 1.3% to 218.8p after the group's AGM trading update revealed the £351.5 million cap expects revenues from continuing operations to grow by around 4% in the first half. While the second half is expected show further growth in revenues and operating profit in its US operations, the UK and European markets are expected to be subdued.
Hi-spec cameras and microscopes kit developer Andor Technology (AND:AIM) came up with no half-year surprises after last week's profits alert (read Shares' view here). Analysts at Investec reckon £20.1 million of cash and new products in the pipeline play well for recovery beyond 2013 but Andor stayed flat at 286.5p.
Surveillance expert Synectics (SNX:AIM) advanced 0.6% to 402.5p after buying a Singapore business that specialises in equipment for the oil and gas sector. This is one of Synectics' key end markets, as we discussed in a recent Plays of the Week article on the stock.
A maiden resource statement sent African Mining & Exploration (AME:AIM) soaring 10.5% to 2.62p. It has proved up 107,000 ounces of gold at the Kossanto project in Mali. This is low grade and not economical in its own right, but a good starting point on which to try and expand the resource size.
Hot on the heels of a shareholder battle, property consultant Sweett (CSG:AIM) has now been rocked by allegations of improper conduct by an employee dating back several years. The shares fell 9.5% to 19p as Sweett ordered a review into the matter.
Middle East and North Africa focused oil and gas firm Circle Oil (COP:AIM) fell 0.8% to 16p despite announcing production from its AASE and Gayad had hit 13,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
Healthcare software supplier Allocate Software (ALL:AIM) is hoping to put a dreadful year behind it thanks to higher second-half recurring revenues from its cloud switch. Increasing NHS acceptance and much better cashflow suggest it is on the right track, the shares rallying 7.5% to 72p.
Filtrations specialist Porvair (PRV:AIM) released decent half-year figures, yet the market fears slowing US demand could spell a second-half struggle. These are being offset by other markets but the shares fell 4.4% to 285.5p.
Shares in acquisitive motor dealer Cambria Automobiles (CAMB:AIM) continued their strong run since the start of the year, revving up a further 0.5p to 33.5p on a well-received trading update. The £32 million cap says annual numbers to the end of August will 'comfortably exceed market expectations' with brisk second-half trading being both ahead of budget and performance last year.
Oil producer Ithaca Energy (IAE:AIM) gushed up 2.6% at 116.8p after announcing a successful appraisal well on the Norvarg discovery in the Norwegian North Sea.