UK markets continue to slide on Tuesday as gains across the mining sector are offset by gloomy corporate newsflow, led by upmarket fashion brands Burberry (BRBY) and Mulberry (MUL:AIM), and from recruiter Michael Page (MPI). The benchmark FTSE 100 index loses 30 points in early trading, down to 6,337, testing 2014 lows.
Fashion brand Burberry slides 5% to £14.05 as chief executive Christopher Bailey flags more difficult luxury market conditions. His cautious comments overshadow news of a strong first half to September for Burberry, with double-digit growth driving sales to £1.1 billion.
In the same upmarket retail space, English luxury brand Mulberry collapses 16.6% to 626.25p on yet another profits warning. In its latest trading update, Mulberry says first half sales fell 17% to £64.7 million amid worsening conditions in the luxury sector. Disappointingly, the high-end bag maker now expects pre-tax profits for the year to March will be 'significantly below current expectations'.
International recruiter and FTSE 250 constituent Michael Page is one of today's bigger casualties, crashing 34p, or 8%, to 382p, as it warns of economic fragility in Europe and slowing growth in Asia. It revises profit expectations down ‘modestly' in a third quarter update which also drags fellow recruiter Hays (HAS) 2% lower.
Asset managers Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) and Ashmore (ASHM) continue to feel the heat of the market sell-off, drifting 2.5% and 2.6% lower respectively. Ashmore reports assets under management in the three months to end September down $3.7 billion to $71.3 billion, hit by client outflows and losses in its emerging markets, multi-strategy and alternatives funds.
In positive territory, following a big sell-off over the past few months, natural resources investor Anglo Pacific (APG) rebounds by 9.1% to 123p after saying royalty income from a Rio Tinto (RIO) coal mine in Australia would be much higher than previously expected.
Latin American hydrocarbons producer Global Energy Development (GED:AIM) leaps 55% to 60.5p as it agrees the $50 million cash sale of producing assets in the Llanos basin. At current exchange rates the price in sterling is a fraction above £30 million and this compares with a current market cap of just £22 million.
Africa and Middle East mid cap oil firm Afren (AFR) rises 4.6% to 102p as the culmination of an independent review into unauthorised payments to directors drives a relief rally. Following the review by law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher the company confirms the dismissal of chief executive officer Osman Shahenshah and chief operating officer Shahid Ullah for gross misconduct (along with two other associate directors) and notes it has suffered 'no material loss' as a result of the scandal.
East African oil explorers Solo Oil (SOLO:AIM) and Aminex (AEX:AIM) gain 24.4% to 0.88p and 7.1% to 2.06p respectively as the former agrees to buy 13% of the latter's stake in the Kiliwani North gas development for $7 million.
Back among today's losers, Zimbabwe-based gold producer Caledonia Mining (CMCL:AIM) crashes 11.3% to 51p after a poor third quarter forces the company to downgrade full-year production guidance and issue a profit warning. The miner blames lower than expected tonnages and falling gold grades.
Workforce optimising software supplier to the NHS Allocate Software (ALL:AIM) jumps 34% to 152.5p after agreeing a £110 million takeover by private equity firm HgCapital. The deal, pitched at 153.55p, values Allocate at a 35% premium to yesterday's 113.5p close.
Senior management at epiwafer specialist IQE (IQE:AIM) have swooped on the stock after the recent sell-off. A total of 2.3 million shares have been snapped up at 12.75p per share, led by chief executive officer Drew Nelson's 1.8 million purchase. The shares, whichhave slumped from 20p in a month, rally 6% to 13.25p.
Diagnostic-maker Immunodiagnostics Systems (IDH) dives 11.1% to 295p as half year revenues slump 18.5% year-on-year on lower kit sales. This is a further set-back in its plan to double revenues in five years.