The FTSE 100 dipped 0.4% to 6,368 points on Thursday, dragged down by oil shares after Brent Crude prices fell 13% to $36.4 per barrel on heightened worries over a large build-up in US distillate inventories.
Asian shares rose to two-month highs with the broad MSCI Asia-Pacific index up 0.4%, while Chinese shares were little changed on continuing US-China tensions.
Gold prices were unchanged at $1,700 an ounce while in currency markets the pound was trading 0.5% lower against the US dollar at $1.25 cents.
Water to waste group Pennon (PNN) reported a 2.6% increase in full year underlying pre-tax profit to £287.6m, while pre-tax profit for the year rose 15.8% to £301.5m. The company warned it expects non-household revenue to reduce in 2020-21 as a result of credit losses stemming from the rise in bad debts.
Meanwhile it confirmed the £4.2bn sale of Viridor to KKK is on track for completion in early summer. The shares fell 1.8% to £11.7.
Essential business information provider Euromoney (ERM) said underlying first-half revenues to 31 March were unchanged while adjusted operating profit was 1% higher at £41.1m. The company said the short-term outlook for face-to-face events remained uncertain given current restrictions on travel. The shares traded up 5.5% to 815p.
Car dealership firm Lookers (LOOK:AIM) said it would cut up to 1,500 jobs as the car dealership looked to close more of its sites in the UK amid plans to deliver savings of about £50m. The shares raced 10.4% higher to 25.73p.
In a pre-close trading update online trading platform IG Group (IGG) said it expected revenue in the fourth quarter to be approximately £259m as client trading levels remained high as a consequence of heightened market volatility.
Full year net trading revenues are anticipated to be approximately £649m, up from £476.9m. The shares were up 2.4% at 815.2p.
In a business update hotel and resort owner PPHE Hotel (PPH) warned that a large number of redundancies may be necessary in the UK as it announced plans to open selected hotels across the Netherlands and the UK through a phased approach from June and July.
The phased reopening will be subject to customer demand and local government legislation and guidelines, and with a limited service offering.
Its flagship hotels Park Plaza Victoria Amsterdam and Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London have remained open, with Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London open to essential workers. The shares were unchanged at £11.9.
Pub group Young & Co (YNGA:AIM) reported full year revenues to 30 March 2020 up 2.6% to £311.6m and adjusted operating profit down 7.6% to £46.5m. The closure of pubs for the final 10 days of the financial year resulted in a £13m shortfall in revenues with a disproportionate impact, around £7.7m on profits.
The company expects to re-open from 3 August and for F21 trading to be materially below average. The shares sank 2.6% to £11.2.
In a COVID-19 update bars-to-restaurants group Loungers (LGRS:AIM) said it had opened 17 sites for takeout with a further 10 to open in the next week, After polling its customers 98% said they would be comfortable visiting the Lounge and Cosy Club venues when government restrictions were lifted. The shares nudged up 0.7% to 133.5p.
Biotherapeutics company Avacta (AVCT:AIM) announced its intention to raise up to £45m by placing 37.5m new shares in an institutional placing and retail offer at a 4,4% discount to the 30 day volume weighted average price, being 125.3p. The shares came off 0.7% to 137.5p.
Specialist fund manager Impax Asset Management (IPX:AIM) reported half year revenues up 22% to £41.2m and operating profit up 36% to £10.5m driven by a record inflow of £1.8bn in new assets. The shares ticked up 0.5% to 397p.