A weak mining and oil sector drags London's FTSE 100 lower on Tuesday, while news Black Friday had the now customary effect of slowing retail sales in the run up to the end-of-November event also weighs on sentiment. While British Retail Consortium statistics showed spending up year-on-year, the like-for-like growth number was almost a third lower than October amid frenzied discounting.
In corporate news, equipment rental firm Ashtead's (AHT) strong run continues, the shares edging up another 1.6% to £15.65 on strong half year figures with underlying pre-tax profit up 9% to £426m. CEO Geoff Drabble says full year results will be ahead of expectations with both divisions outperforming and Ashtead enjoying a positive boost from weaker sterling.
Graphics microchip designer and rumoured takeover target Imagination Technologies (IMG) sparks up 20% to 264p on half year results showing a return to profitability driven by £27.5m of cost savings and aided by the strong dollar.
Coal-to-biomass power generator Drax (DRX) is marked up almost 10% to 305p on excitement surrounding its proposed acquisition of Opus Energy, a profitable supplier of gas and electricity to small and medium sized businesses, for £340m.
Defence, security and transport group Ultra Electronics (ULE) cheapens 14p to £19.93 as it warns delays to a small number of export contracts, most significantly a torpedo defence deal for India yet to be signed, will impact its full year performance.