London shares remain flat in early trade on Wednesday with miners acting as a drag and offsetting consumer products gains. Wall Street faded overnight, while Asian markets are mixed and European bourses mildly lower this morning. The UK benchmark FTSE 100 is up just a single point at 6,929, although once again midcaps perform far more strongly, the FTSE 250 index rallying 79 points, or 0.4%, to 18,299.
Among the bigger movers, Arria NLG (NLG:AIM) soars 103% to 55 to 13.75p as it closes in on new funding. Convertible loan notes are anticipated, but at a hefty premium to the current share price, although the company remains dogged by losing its biggest customer Shell (RDSB) recently, as Shares flagged last month.
Also flying is Ariana Resources (AAU:AIM), shooting 27% higher 1.08p after getting the final permit to start building a gold mine in Turkey. Read our exclusive interview with the small cap miner to get the full story on the major news event.
Staying in the resources space, Edenville Energy (EDL:AIM) rallies 18% to 0.1p after unveiling a reorganisation of its board, but Ferrum Crescent (FCR:AIM) falls 16% to 0.48p despite getting an extension of its deadline from Prinicple Monarchy Investments for its first funding payment of R2 million.
Going the other way, EasyHotel (EZH:AIM) slumps 8% to 74.5p as investors feel disappointed by interim results despite revenues more than doubling £2.59 million. Underlying pre-tax profit soared 122% to £1.35 million, but the market remains miffed by a slower than expected new property roll-out.
Web hosting tiddler RapidCloud (RCI:AIM) crashes more than 20% as full year results fail to reassure investors.
Elsewhere, UK IT security business Sophos has confirmed its long-mooted plan to float on the London market. Previously flagged by Shares, the company hopes to raise around £100 million of growth funding, implying a valuation somewhere in the region of £1 billion to £1.5 billion.
A joint venture between Chinese investors and outsourcer and construction outfit Interserve (IRV) is named preferred bidder on a £550 million project to redevelop parts of Battersea in south-west London. The One Nine Elms scheme includes a new US embassy building, regeneration of the defunct Battersea Power Station as well as flats and a hotel. Interserve gains around 1% at the open to 628p.
Equipment and tool rental businesses Speedy Hire (SDY), Lavendon (LVD), Ashtead (AHT) and HSS Hire (HSS) all slide between 0.5% and 2.3% as investors fret about the impact of sliding oil prices on demand from energy companies. Brent crude eases back 0.44% to $65.20 (£43.13).
Flexible office and warehousing provider Workspace (WKP) advances 3.3% to 950.5p on pre-tax profits improve 43% to £360 million in 2014, while the net value of its assets climbed 42% to 703p a share. Rising valuations and demand from small businesses drove growth.
Cancer killing machine-maker Advanced Oncotherapy (AVO:AIM) dives 6.2% to 9.3p on pre-tax-losses widening 85% to £6.3 million as it ramps up its development spend to bring its proton beam machine to market.
Stationer-to-bookseller WH Smith (SMWH) is in demand, up the best part of 3% at £15.83 on a better-than-expected third quarter trading statement. Over the 13 weeks to 30 May, like-for-like travel sales grew 4% with a boost from 'Food to Go' ranges, while gross margin gains are reported in travel and the high street division alike.
Merged electricals-to-mobiles titan Dixons Carphone (DC.) sheds 0.5p at 478.8p after a strong run, despite raising full-year profit guidance. Annual pre-tax profit is now expected to come in 'slightly above the top end' of the previously guided £355 million-to-£375 million range driven by market share gains across the UK & Ireland, Nordics and Greece, though slower-than-expected same-store growth in the Nordics in Q4 is a minor disappointment.
Online musical instruments retailer Gear4music (G4M:AIM) gains 3.2% at 143.5p on its AIM debut. The company has raised £10 million at 139p in order to develop its e-commerce platform, expand its product range and pay down debt.