UK shares end the week on the back foot with investors perhaps a little perturbed by the US Fed's decision to hold off upping interest rates across the pond for now. Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen's fairly cautious comments on the global economic scene are maybe good reason for investors to remain cautious for now.
The effect on the FTSE 100 is to push the UK's blue-chip index around 35 points in to the red to 6,150, declines roughly matched on the midcap FTSE 250 and small cap markets. Europe's main markets are also all off, while it was a mixed picture on Wall Street overnight, the S&P 500 flat, the Dow down but Nasdaq nudging marginally into positive territory.
In company news, discount retailer Poundland (PLND) piles on 8.9p at 326.9p as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) finally gives its proposed £55 million takeover of 99p Stores full clearance. Poundland CEO Jim McCarthy welcomes the decision and will now move to complete the acquisition of the rival budget retail player by the end of the month.
Private equity firms Advent and Bain Capital announce their intention to float payments company Worldpay on the stock exchange after months of speculation it would be sold in an off-market transaction. Previous owner RBS (RBS) sold 80% of the business to Advent and Bain for £1.7 billion in 2010, valuing the payments processor at around £2 billion in total. Now it could attract a market value of close to £6 billion, according to media reports, though it is expected only 25% of the business will be sold initially.
Two of yesterday's laggards, semiconductor distributor Premier Farnell (PFL) and energy services outfit Rotork (ROR), lose more ground today, dropping 3.5% and 2.2% respectively as analysts update forecasts following disappointing market updates.
Among the bigger movers, iron ore producer Ferrexpo (FXPO) dives 28% to 42.5p after revealing that $174 million of its cash is held with Ukrainian finance house Bank F&C which last night (17 Sep) was declared insolvent. To make matters worse, the bank is controlled by Ferrexpo's chief executive and major shareholder Kostyantin Zhevago.
Near-term gold producer Metals Exploration (MTL:AIM) falls 12.1% to 3.62p after announcing plans to raise up to $15.7 million to plug a working capital hole. Plans to build a gold mine in the Philippines have been disrupted by permitting issues.
And maybe there's encouraging news on the horizon for mobile enterprise software play Globo (GBO:AIM). It's shares shoot up 12% to 34.75p despite having nothing apparently to say. However, the company did update the market earlier this week on its potential high yield bond saying interest had been high. Maybe news is sneaking out from somewhere that take up will be positive, we'll see.
Online property portal Zoopla (ZPLA) gains 2.6% to 213.7p as investment bank Deutsche Bank boosts its price target from 188p to 240p - although it's current recommendation on the stock stays at hold.
Testing kit-maker EKF Diagnostics (EKF:AIM) falls 4.2% to 22.5p on Chinese company Jinjing asking for more time to decide if it wants to buy the point-of-care business or not. It now has until 19 October to make a bid. The business was put up for sale following a strategic review.
Cancer-focused therapy developer Scancell (SCLP:AIM) rises 1.7% to 28.5p on positive data generated by several of its pipeline treatments during the year to 30 April. Pre-tax losses increased 16.6% to £2.8 million on higher R&D spend during the period.