UK equities are set a drift in early deals on Friday with little corporate news to provide direction despite a solid session of gains on Wall Street overnight. The FTSE 100 index slides around 50 points, or 0.8%, to 5,869, declines closely tracked by main European bourses.

Metals diggers are among the big losers led by Anglo American's (AAL) 9%-plus fall to 238.6p, closely followed by FTSE 100 diversified resources group BHP Billiton (BLT). Its shares fall 4.8% to 625.4p after flagging that it would incur $4.9 billion pre-tax impairment charge for the carrying value of its online US oil and gas assets.

Telco BT (BT.A) nudges up 1% to 472.25p as it welcomes the official UK Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA) green light over its proposed £12.5 billion acquisition of mobile operator EE, importantly, without remedies. Read why this is good news for the group's shareholders here.

A renewed plunge in oil prices, again flirting with $30 per barrel, sees the oil and gas sector under pressure with Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) sinking 2.4% to £13.56 and BP (BP.) down 2.3% to 339.7p.

Price comparison site (MONY) falls 7.9% to 323p as an otherwise in-line trading update is marred by falling fourth quarter sales in its insurance business where it is seeing increased competition.

Newly-listed mining company European Metals (EMH:AIM) is in vogue as drilling results beat management expectations, sending the share price up 14.3% to 9p. It wants to develop a large tin deposit that sits within an old mine in the Czech Republic.

The business previously known as EMED Mining says it will finally start commercial production at the Rio copper mine in Spain on 1 February after an arduous journey battling permits, financing and environment issues. The news sends Atalaya Mining (ATYM:AIM) up 1.6% to 97.5p.

BMR Mining (BMR:AIM) falls 10.3% to 3.25p as it offers investors the chance to buy one new share at a the discounted price of 3p for every six they already own. The mineral processing business wants to raise up to £750,000 to help fund new equipment.

Back office optimsier EG Solutions (EGS:AIM) surprisingly slumps 13% to 47p despite confirming pre-tax breakeven for the year to 31 January, bang in line with expectations. A handful of contracts moving to the right is why investors are disappointed, although this could be read as a potential bonus for next year's figures. Analysts anticipate around £500,000 pre-tax profit as it stands for 2016/17, on £11.8 million revenue.

Broadcast technology platformer Forbidden Technologies (FBT:AIM) gets a big boost as it signs up a pair of new ABC network affiliates to its cloud video platform Forscene. The shares jump 11.5% to 12.12p.

Telematics kit specialist Quartix (QTX:AIM) continues its solid run since IPO'ing back in November 2014, up 4% to 252.5p. The company encouragingly tells investors to expect both revenue and profits to beat market forecasts. Analysts had been expecting adjusted pre-tax profit of £5.5 million for the year to 31 December 2015, on ££17.8 million revenue.

Pre-natal generic test-maker Premaitha Health (NIPT:AIM) climbs 4.8% to 16.2p after a government agency recommends that its IONA device is used by the NHS.

Bombed-out women's value fashion retailer Bonmarche (BON:AIM) rallies 3.1% to 181p on relief over its third quarter and Christmas trading statement. Having recently warned on profits (16 Dec) following a difficult December, the retailer reports a better-than-feared 0.8% decline in quarterly sales and with demand since Christmas having 'trended towards more normal levels', expresses confidence in achieving annual pre-tax profit within the £10.5 million-to-£12 million range.

Product testing specialist Exova (EXO) gains 3.2% to 145p on solid trading in the final two months of 2015. Profit guidance is unchanged as management says performance was in line with an 11 November 2015 trading statement which said revenue gained 2.7% on an organic, constant currency basis. Full year results are expected on 2 March 2016.

P&O Cruises owner Carnival (CCL) gains 1.6% to £37.06 after declaring a quarterly dividend of $0.30 per share, payable on 11 March. The Shares Play of the Week released forecast-beating full year results on 18 December with a 40% rise in earnings per share to 270c.

Issue Date: 15 Jan 2016