London shares fail to hang on to early strong gains in mid-morning trade. The FTSE 100 index slips 12 points into the red, at 6,972, despite bargain hunters descending on US equipment rental outfit Ashtead (AHT) after last week’s sharp sell-off on poor US economic numbers. The stock heads the Footsie leader board early on Monday, advancing 3.6% to £11.61.

Micaps do a little better, the FTSE 250 nudging into positive territory at 18,156.

Gambling technology outfit Playtech (PTEC) emerges as a white knight for crisis-hit trading platform Plus500 (PLUS:AIM) tabling a 400p a share cash offer for the AIM-listed stock. Playtech drops 3.4% to 802p and Plus500 is up 4.5% to 387p.

Among the bigger movers, Middle East and north Africa focused hydrocarbons producer Circle Oil (COP:AIM) falls 17.4% to 10.94p as it announces higher-than-expected capex of $86 million in 2014 due to cost over-runs on its Mahdia discovery in Tunisia. New chief executive Mitchell Flegg was appointed last week (29 May) and Investec says he ‘must now reset the narrative of an E&P with a strong asset base, but stop-start operational performance’.

Kazakh oil explorer Roxi Petroleum (RXP:AIM) gains 16.4% to 16.15p as it prepares to commence a long-awaited flow test on a deep well testing the potential of its BNG field and announces the sale of its interest in the Galaz asset for which it will receive $23 million. Testing of A5 was delayed by technical issues.

Sunrise Resources (SRES:AIM) jumps 57% to 0.33p as it receives bonanza silver grades for samples from underground sampling of the Chihuahua Vein and associated bedded mineralisation on its Bay State Silver Project, Nevada.

Tracking technology minnow Starcom (STAR:AIM) slumps close on 20% as it goes cap in hand to shareholders for fresh funding. The Israeli company has conditionally raised £475,000, before expenses, through the placing of 11,875,000 new ordinary shares at 4p each with existing institutional investors.

Going the other way, Serica Energy (SQZ:AIM) rises 12% to 5.15p despite widening full year losses to $35.6 million, including a $30 million write-down of its E&E assets.

Antibiotic developer Motif Bio (MTFB:AIM) climbs 11.8% to 48.5p on hiring a clinical research organisation to manage the Phase III trials for its Iclaprim treatment. Motif, which secured clearance for the tests last week, will invest $950,000 in the trials.

Testing kit-maker Omega Diagnostics (ODX:AIM) gains 9.3% to 23.5p on a positive update on the effectiveness of its Visitect CD4 infectious disease test. The company believes the test is capable of meeting performance goals.

Drug delivery specialist Silence Therapeutics (SLN:AIM) rises 7.1% to 328.5p on pancreatic cancer treatment Atu027 passing safety tests.

Diversified food business Real Good Food (RGD) rises 6.9% to 46.5p on a positive pre-close trading update. Having completed the £34 million sale of its sugar distribution arm Napier Brown, Real Good Food says its continuing cake decoration, food ingredients and premium bakery businesses are trading positively in the early weeks of the new financial year.

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Issue Date: 01 Jun 2015