London shares fail to hang on to early gains and start a steady decline as investors fret over more debt talks between Greece and Eurozone states. The FTSE 100 sags more than 50 points 6,902 despite gains made on Wall Street overnight, although once again UK midcaps put in a better showing, drifting just 10 points down to 18,209.
Building services and supplies firm Wolseley (WOS) heads the blue-chip leader board, adding 2.6% to £41.25, but the positive effects are capped by British American Tobacco (BATS), hit by a class-action lawsuit in Canada that'll cost the fags firm £8.2 billion 'moral and punitive damages.
Web-based washing machines-to-televisions seller AO World (AO.) slumps 4.6% to 168.1p as it misses full year expectations with a £2.8 million full year loss. Results to March contain no further nasty surprises following a February profit warning (25 Feb), though a cautious outlook statement flags continuing tough trading conditions in the UK. Shares highlighted the risks of investing in the highly-rated retailer here in March.
Oil producer Premier Oil (PMO) gains 3.6% to 161.8p as it tidies up the equity and royalty situation on its North Sea Solan field. It buys out partner Chyrsaor's 40% stake to take full ownership of the asset in return for a payment of up to $3 million a year and royalty payments totalling up to $100 million after allowing for the repayment to Premier of the notional outstanding loan of $530 million plus accrued interest. In addition Premier have done a deal with FlowStream Commodities who will pay them $100 million for 15% of the proceeds of Solan production for a period of time dependent on production levels and oil prices.
Among the bigger movers, oil services minnow SeaEnergy (SEA:AIM) falls 26.5% to 15.25p as it warns on revenues as slowing industry spend impacts demand for its virtual asset management R2S service.
Oxford Pharmascience (OXP:AIM) crashes by more than 8% to 10.88p as it raises £20 million at 10p per share, a 16% discount to last night's 11.88p close.
X-ray imaging kit maker Image Scan (IGE:AIM) slumps more than 23% to 1.25p as it posts ballooning half-year losses of £387,000, up from £59,000 a year ago. Revenues fell to £863,000 from £1.7 million.
Exploration minnow Paternoster Resources (PRS:AIM) jumps 15% to 0.23p as it enters into a deal with Littoral Oil & Gas to jointly evaluate, acquire and develop oil and gas assets, initially in Algeria.
Elsewhere, oil services group AMEC Foster Wheeler (AMFW) slips 2.3% to 899p as it warns of a second half weighting to profits as continued customer pricing pressure, particularly in the oil & gas market, is expected to generate a further modest reduction in the 2015 trading margin.
ID security firm Intercede (IGP:AIM) loses 5% to 103p as it plunges back into the red for the year to March. The company saw the previous year's £800,000 profit turn into a £1.3 million deficit on a £1 million decline in sales to £8.8 million.
Low-cost African carrier Fastjet (FJET:AIM) only manages to nudge 0.4% tp 114.5p higher after its full year results showed a 106% increase in full year revenues to $53.8 million and a 50% reduction in year on year EBITDA loss margin.
Investors have taken profits at cancer drug-developer Scancell (SCLP:AIM), which falls 3.9% to 36.7p despite positive results from Phase I/II trials of its melanoma treatment SCIB1. All 16 patients remain in positive health.
Disclosure: William Cain, who helped to write this article, owns shares in British American Tobacco