London shares tread water in early trade on Thursday as fading optimism about a Greek debt deal and an upcoming US jobs report gave investors reasons to be cautious. The blue-chip FTSE 100 index is a nudge higher, about 5 points, at at 6,614 early on, although midcaps perform less well, the FTSE 250 index drifting about 20 point to 17,694.
Electricals-to-telecommunications retail titan Dixons Carphone (DC.) heads the Footsie leader board on Thurdays after inking a tie-up with US mobile network operator Sprint (S:NYSE). Its Connected World Services (CWS) division is to open and manage Sprint-branded stores in the US. Shares suggested riding Dixons Carphone's positive momentum here last month, and the stock responds positively today, up 3.9% to 476.65p .
Among the bigger movers, sales and lettings agency Hunters Property (HUNT:AIM) climbs 18.3% to 71p as trading commences in the £16.9 million cap’s stock. Shares took an exclusive pre-IPO look at the company on 18 June.
Junior miner Ferrex (FRX:AIM) jumps 13.3% to 0.68p after half-year results reveal positive news on its manganese project in Togo. Ferrex believes it will soon get a mining permit and it says talks have begun with potential project financiers.
The collapse of an asset sale sends Coal of Africa (CZA:AIM) down 10.5% to 4.43p. It says Blackspear Capital has failed to stump up the goods for its Mooiplaats Colliery so a sale agreement has lapsed. Talks continue with both Blackspear and other parties to reach a disposal agreement.
Genetic analysis device-maker Premaitha Health (NIPT:AIM) plummets 8.9% to 21.5p on plans to raise £8 million. The company intends to sell 40 million shares for 20p each putting it on a 15.2% discount to Wednesday’s 23.6p closing price. The proceeds will fund product development and help to boost sales.
Troubled emergency power group APR Energy (APR) jumps more than 10% to 127.25p as it signs a contract to provide a gas turbine power plant for an industrial customer in Egypt.
Networks technology designer BATM Advanced Communications (BVC) rallies close on 10% to 16.5p as it wins a significant contract as the sole supplier for the delivery of a cyber-security solution to a government defence ministry. Worth an initial $3.7 million, the deal value could rise to $20 million-plus as volumes ramp-up over the next five years.
Motive Television (MTV:AIM) soars nearly 50% to 0.01p as it develops a Mobile Personal Video Recorder (PVR), which it believes is the world's first ATSC-format PVR for mobile devices. Unlike other personal video recorders, Mobile PVR is entirely based on proprietary Motive software.
Spectra Systems (SPSC:AIM), up 24% to 23p, has entered into a supply contract with a Chinese manufacturer of secure documents. The deal relates to the supply of at least $5.6m of high-margin materials and up to $0.5m of hand-held readers, over a term of 9 years.
Resources minnow Strategic Minerals (SML:AIM) slumps by nearly 24% to 0.4p as it admits to a terrible 2014. The collapse in the export price for iron ore hit the Cobre operation hard, making international sales uneconomic.
Elsewhere, oil services play Hunting (HTG) sinks 4.9% to 580p as it reports profits for the first five months of 2015 down 76% year-on-year and warns the industry outlook remains unclear. We took a look at the challenges facing the wider sector here.
The market takes a relaxed view of the ongoing battle between Petroceltic (PCI:AIM) and activist shareholder Worldview with the shares up 1.9% to 103.45p. Worldview – which has a 29% holding – is calling for an extraordinary general meeting to discuss the $175 million bond issue proposed by the company this week (29 Jun). Read Shares exclusive story here.
Magners and Bulmers cider maker C&C (CCR) softens 3.2% to 3.34p on a first quarter trading statement devoid of fizz. Dublin-based C&C encountered weaker-than-expected trading in its core markets of Scotland and Ireland, hit by unseasonably cold and wet weather, notably in May. For more on the beverages industry, check out Shares' sector report in today's issue of the magazine.
US-focused equipment hire firm Ashtead (AHT) is one of the FTSE 350’s bigger fallers, shedding 2.7% to £10.71, following on from heavy losses at UK sector peers in recent days. US market leader United Rentals (URI:NYSE) also had a tough trading session overnight, losing 4.7% to $83.55 on analyst concerns 2015 is shaping up to be below par for the industry.