London shares are firmly southbound as investors fret over further Greece debt talks and ahead of the Bank of England's midday announcement, when the BoE is expected to retain its key interest rate and quantitative easing programme. Resources, insurers and retail were notable fallers, although it is electricity grid Supplier National Grid (NG.) that heads the Footsie loser board, off more than 5% at 868.8p.
The FTSE 100 index slumps nearly 100 points to 6,857, while midcaps do little better, the FTSE 250 190 points off at 18,072.
Speciality chemicals business Johnson Matthey (JMAT) is also a feature faller, plunging 3.6% to £33.875p despite full year pre-tax profit rising 22%, but investors are focusing on the 10% decline in revenues.
Budget airline EasyJet (EZJ) is among the few blue-chips to make gains, adding around 2% to £16.13, as it reports strong passenger numbers. The flyer carried 6.5 million passengers in May, up 7.2% year-on-year. Load factor was 91.6%, up from 89.4% last time.
Both price comparison site Moneysupermarket.com (MONY) and online property portal Zoopla (ZPLA) – thanks to its new-found ownership of uSwitch - are under pressure as Ofgem steps up its probe into competition breaches in the energy sector. Moneysupermarket falls 8.6% to 279.7p and Zoopla falls 7.3% to 254.5p after the former announced after market close last night that it is providing information to the regulator which is seeking to establish whether two or more companies providing a supporting service to the energy industry have breached the rules. We have more on the story here.
Among the bigger movers, micro-cap oily 88 Energy (88E:AIM) - formerly Tangiers Petroleum - gains 17.2% to 0.88p as it reveals positive drilling results by Spanish giant Repsol (REP:BME) and Armstrong Energy close to its Icewine project in Alaska.
Micro cap drinks brands owner Distil (DIS:AIM) leaves a sour taste, off 13.5% to 0.8p as investors focus on top-line disappointment. However, this partly reflects a strategic shift away from third party brand distribution and towards driving owned brand sales from the Blackwoods Gin and Vodka owner and ignores improving margins, reduced losses and a bubbly outlook statement.
IT services minnow Scisys (SSY:AIM) virtually halves before recovering some after issuing a damaging profit warning. The complexity of a major contract in its Enterprise Solutions and Defence (ESD) division will mean a big shortfall in profits for 2015, a huge blow considering the company gave the market guidance as recently as March. The shares plunge 28% to 60p.
Engineering tiddler Pressure Technologies (PRES:AIM) crashes around 30% to 188.5p as it too warns on profit. 'The current and next financial year will be materially lower than market forecasts,' the company says, blaming falling crude oil prices for squeezing oil industry projects.
Equipment rental specialist VP (VP.) heads up the FTSE All-Share leader board, gaining 7.1% to 723p, as earnings per share (EPS) come in ahead of expectations in the year to end-March. Basic EPS grows 28% to 51p and return on average capital employed surges to 16.2% versus 13.5% a year earlier.
Elsewhere, specialist retailer Pets at Home (PETS), one of Shares 15 for 2015 picks, softens 3.1% to 271.4p as robust full-year figures prompt profit-taking after a strong run. A management reshuffle, with finance director Ian Kellett moving to head up the retail division, necessitating a search for a new numbers man, has caused jitters.
Germany-focused commercial property investor Sirius Real Estate (SRE:AIM) falls 2.5% to 0.4p on plans for a €50 million placing to fund the acquisition of five business parks. In other news, the company is refinancing €56 million of debt.
Drug delivery specialist Midatech Pharma (MTPH:AIM) advances 3% to 300p on making a £15.8 million cash and shares offer for oncology company DARA BioSciences (DARA:NDQ). The deal strengthens MidaTech’s position in the cancer market and is expected to complete later this year.