The FTSE 100 gets off to a weak start as it falls back below the 7,000 mark. The mid cap index, the FTSE 250, is also in negative territory.


Waste management group Biffa (BIFF) makes a limp return to the stock market with a low-priced IPO at 180p. The shares fail to make a big impression, trading at 182.38p just after the market open.


In contrast, LED lighting specialist Luceco (LUCE) sees its shares jump 11.5% to 145p on its first day on the stock market.


Weak sterling has given a boost to education specialist Pearson (PSON). It says earnings per share guidance for 2016 will increase by 4.5p to a 54.5p-59.5p range if there is no change to current exchange rates. However, the market is concerned that underlying performance is being affected by tough market conditions, sending the shares down 5.2% to 789p.


Renewed legal action destabilises Starcom (STAR:AIM), down 16.7% to 2.5p after an Israel court concluded there could be cause for a claim against one of the company’s operating subsidiaries and against the group’s chief executive and chief operating officer. Financial services group Top Alpha sued Starcom in 2014 claiming there was an agreement to use its services.


Serabi Gold (SRB:AIM) has reported record gold production for the third quarter of 2016 at 10,233 ounces. That prompts the Brazil-based miner to upgrade its full year output guidance by 5% to 39,000 ounces.


Contract wins in China help lift Modern Water (MWG:AIM) by 14.9% to 6.75p. The water treatment specialist recently reported a downturn in Asian activity, so today’s £550,000+ worth of sales for monitoring equipment bodes is reassuring.


A new contract with supermarket group Asda helps to drive up shares in Utilitywise (UTW:AIM) by 7.3% to 135p. The energy management consultant will link up a range of in-store systems and assets.


Touch screen specialist Zytronic (ZYT:AIM) says underlying pre-tax profit for 2016 will be ‘at least’ in line with market expectations. This excites investors, sending the shares up 3.7% to 393.9p.


The submission of a planning application to conduct further testing and drilling at the Gatwick oil discovery, Horse Hill-1, gives a boost to various AIM-quoted firms that hold a stake in the project. This includes Solo Oil (SOLO:AIM), up 8.2% to 0.249p; and Regency Mines (RGM:AIM) which rises 9.5% to 0.57p.


Recruitment consultant Robert Walters (RWA) nudges ahead 1.4% to 346.7p as it reports 23% rise in group net fee income, based on actual exchange rates; and 8% gain at constant currency.


Issue Date: 17 Oct 2016