London’s blue chip FTSE 100 index is dragged lower by ailing commodities stocks, falling 0.3% to 6,371. Asian exchanges traded lower overnight with ongoing economic concerns on China and a potential December US interest rate hike weighing on Hong Kong in particular. The Hang Seng index fell 1.9%. Sterling weakness continues into the end of the week. Trading at $1.505 it is around 2 cents cheaper since last Friday.
Commodity prices fall more or less across the board as the dollar strengthens ahead of an anticipated December rate hike in the US. Platinum to diamonds producer Anglo American (AAL) is the biggest faller, down 6% to 409p. Also under pressure are iron ore miners BHP Billiton (BLT) and Rio Tinto (RIO), down 2.2% (at 814p) and 2% (at £22.32) respectively and copper specialist Antofagasta (ANTO), down 1.6% to 509p.
Among the bigger movers, React Energy (REAC:AIM) slumps 30% to 3.5p as it remains laden with losses. The full year deficit does narrow substantially from €14.7 million to €0.9 million.
Biotech firm Aortech (AOR:AIM) is also hit hard, the stock falling 12% to 25.5p as it posts substantial interim losses of $0.56 million.
Elsewhere, cafe chain Patisserie (CAKE:AIM) tumbles 6% to 320p as investors take profits following a strong run for the stock, which is up 60% over the last 12 months. The Patisserie Valerie owner's adjusted pre-tax profit is up 29% to £14.6 million in the year to 30 September, with revenue 20% higher at £91.9 million. The group has proposed a maiden final dividend of 1.67p per share.
Publishing group Future (FUTR) falls 6.8% to 10.25p after raising £3.3 million at a 10p, which repesents a 9% discount to last night's closing price. It will use the money to invest in various revenue streams including e-commece, events and digital advertising.
Struggling electronics turnaround Volex (VLX) nudges 3% higher to 56.75p as it combines the roles of chairman and CEO to create an executive chairman position, to which Nathaniel Rothschild had been appointed with immediate effect.
Family-controlled car dealer Caffyns (CFYN) cheapens 3.4% to 565p despite revving in with strong interims. In his outlook statement, CEO Simon Caffyn suggests second half trading 'may be more challenging'. This reflects 'some slowdown in enquiry rates' at Caffyns' Volkswagen (VOWG:DE) dealerships and a 1% dip in the new car market in October, as reported by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Insolvency and legal claims specialist Fairpoint (FRP:AIM) bounces 0.8% after a delayed Autumn Statement related sell-off yesterday. Chancellor George Osborne is making it harder to make compensation claims for minor whiplash injuries, potentially impacting Faripoint’s legal services business. But Fairpoint management claims the move has been well trailed and says it is in a good position to take advantage of the changes.