FTSE indices are mixed in early deals with larger companies fading but small caps on the rose, modestly. Among the blue-chips, Sage (SGE) rallies 5% to 598.25p as it confirms that it remains on track for full year guidance, with analysts anticipating largely flat earnings of 25.7p per share.
The FTSE 100 index nudges close on 40 points lower to 5,878, with Wall Street and Asian markets firm overnight.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) slides 2.4% to 254.6p on paying £3.6 billion in charges for 2015 putting it on course to make an eight successive annual loss. Its pension scheme will gobble up £1.6 billion while £1.5 billion will cover fines linked to mis-selling mortgage-backed securities in the US. A further £500 million has been allocated for PPI mis-selling compensation.
Global Resources Investment Trust (GRIT) has turned to shareholders with cap in hand after breaching its 9% convertible loan notes coverage ratio. Shares in the struggling mining fund fall 45.8% to 3.25 on plans to issue new shares to Middle Eastern group Primestar at 2p, as well as offering existing shareholders the right to buy stock at the same price.
Investors are disappointed with delays to Sirius Minerals’ (SXX:AIM) definitive feasibility on its potash project in Yorkshire, sending the share price down 18% to 11.5p. The results are now expected by the end of March, having previously been scheduled for January.
Near-term uranium producer Berkeley Energia (BKY:AIM) rises 6.3% to 25.25p as it finds high-grade material immediately below the Zona 7 deposit. This should further enhance the appeal of the overall Salamanca project. Read our ‘Griller’ interview from 21 January to discuss why Berkeley is a rare positive story in the mining sector.
PR and marketing play Creston (CRE) falls 16.9% to 101.8p as it warns on March 2016 profits, citing project delays and cutbacks by clients thanks to uncertainty in the global economy. Read Shares web story exclusive here.
Emerging markets-focused fund management group Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) is among the blue chip gainers on news fourth quarter client outflows slowed to £9.1 billion, down from £12.7 billion in the prior three months. Assets under management increased slightly to £290.6 billion, mainly a result of acquisitions. Shares trade 1.8% higher at 237p.
Lender Paragon (PAG) adds 4.7% to 328p as it seeks to cool fears of a collapse in buy-to-let investment following chancellor George Osborne's budget reforms. 'The changes are likely to result in an increasing trend towards investment by professional buy-to-let landlords, a customer group where Paragon already has extensive experience,' says chief executive Nigel Terrington.
Further froth is knocked off the share price of soft drinks business Britvic (BVIC), off 6.5p at 671.5p on a flat first quarter trading statement. Though the Robinsons-to-Fruit Shoot supplier reports encouraging trading over Christmas and reaffirms full-year earnings guidance, organic revenue declined by 2.4% to £290.1 million over the 12 weeks to 20 December, reflecting challenging market conditions and a slow start in October.
Resilient agricultural inputs-to-retail stores group Wynnstay (WYN:AIM) wanes 2.9% to 507.5p, despite finals showing a record underlying pre-tax profit of £9.05 million, up 4% year-on-year. Sales fell from £413.6 million to £377.4 million amid commodity price deflation and analysts downgrade estimates on a cautious outlook statement, flagging continuing low farmgate prices and subdued farmer sentiment, as well as a slow start to the feed season following the prolonged mild autumn.
Warehousing landlord Tritax Big Box REIT (BBOX) trades 2.4% lower at 128.4p after announcing a placing and open offer to raise £100 million to buy new assets. The shares will be sold for 124p each, a 5.8% discount to Tuesday’s closing price.