London shares fall in early trade on Thursday on financials and house builders as miners gain, with the session rich with ex-dividend stocks. This after the Nikkei fell when Bank of Japan held off on further stimulus and left rates unmoved, while a dovish Fed also stayed rates.
The FTSE 100 index tumbles more than 90 points, or 1.5%, to 6,227, while midcaps and smaller companies post similar losses.
Investors warm to news that Anglo American (AAL) is selling its niobium and phosphates businesses for a combined $1.5 billion. The deal is subject to Chinese regulatory approval; the money will help to pay down Anglo’s debt. Anglo shares move up 1% to 704.2p.
Broadcaster ITV (ITV) is the biggest victim of the ex-dividend swing, down 5.7% to 220.5p.
Other ex-divi stocks of note today are Barratt (BDEV), Henry Boot (BHY), Merlin (MERL), National Express (NEX), SThree (STHR), JD Wetherspoon (JDW), Unilever (ULVR), William Hill (WMR) and Travis Perkins (TPK), among many others.
Lloyds Banking (LLOY) falls 4.3% to 66.2p on pre-tax profits slumping 46% to £654 million in the opening three months of 2016, year-on-year. The £790 million cost of redeeming some bonds and restructuring costs are blamed.
Having kept a low profile since a major refinancing in 2015, gold miner Petropavlovsk (POG) bounces back with a trio of news, sending its share price up 5.1% to 8.25p. It is buying an operating gold mine in Russia, forming a joint venture where the partner will pay to complete a half-built processing plant and it will commence underground production from the existing Pioneer mine. The acquisition will see Russian natural resources business Musa Bazhaev own just under a third of Petropavlovsk.
Troubled mineral sands producer Kenmare Resources (KMR) falls 11.6% to 0.8p after saying that chemicals group King Ally may invest $100 million in the business as part of a $275 million fundraising. Investors are clearly worried about new shares being issued at a large discount to the market price.
Software minnow Zoo Digital (ZOO:AIM) slumps 17% to 10p after revealing a largely flat full year. Revenue will be reported at around $11.6 million, barely better than the previous year's $11.5 million outcome. But EBITDA of about $0.2 million beats the $0.7 million loss last time as new business helps offset the disruption caused by the acquisition of one of its largest customers.
Big data play WANdisco (WAND:AIM) rallies 15% to 207.5p as it enters into a non-exclusive OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) sales agreement with IBM. The US computing giant intends to sell WANdisco's Fusion data replication product, a big boost for the firm's beleaguered shareholders.
Serco (SRP) wins a fourteen-year, £160 million contract to manage the design, build and maintenance of an icebreaker vessel for Australia’s Department of the Environment. Shares advance 0.5% to 98.4p against flat performance in the industrials sector as a whole.
Redde (REDD:AIM), which provides courtesy cars to insurance customers, gains 5.2% to 162p on strong trading into the early weeks of April. ‘As a consequence, operating profits are continuing to exceed the board’s original expectations,’ says the company in a trading statement.
Mobile gambling company Gaming Realms (GMR:AIM) slips 2.4% to 20.3p despite signing a five-year licensing agreement for Scientific Games to produce Slingo-branded slot machines for casinos around the world. It's an expansion of Scientific Games' existing licence to produce Slingo scratch lottery tickets, sales of which have surpassed $1 billion.