The bullish bubble that has swept UK market higher over the past few trading sessions gets well and truly popped on Thursday as investors react to more hefty falls in crude prices and the US Federal Reserve’s outlook for interest rates.
In early trade London’s FTSE 100 is down 58 points, or 0.9%, at 6,767, tracking late declines on Wall Street, with the S&P 500 falling 1.3% overnight to 2,002.16. The FTSE 250 is down similarly 16,287, while crude oil price remain below the $50/bbl mark.
Oil major Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) heads the Footise loser board, losing 4% to £21.565 after announcing a $15 billion cut to investment in response to slumping oil prices. However, the group also reports full year earnings of $19 billion in 2014, up from $16.7 billion in the previous year.
Investors raise a glass to premium alcoholic drinks giant Diageo (DGE), up 23.5p (1.2%) to £19.86 despite serving up sobering interims. Sales were broadly flat in a half hit by adverse currency movements, though CEO Ivan Menezes flags a stronger second quarter and a 9% dividend hike to 21.5p raises spirits.
Managed pub and restaurant chain owner Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) loses 1.6% to 415p on weaker margins as consumers continue to swap drinking out for eating out and the group integrates the recently acquired Orchid business. Like-for-like food sales are up 2.8% while drink sales are up 0.4% in the 17 weeks to 24 January.
Mecca Bingo owner Rank (RNK) edges up 0.7% to 167p on a 29% increase in adjusted profit before tax to £35.8 million in the six months ended 31 December 2014. The group has declared an interim dividend of 1.6p, up 19% year-on-year.
Spectrometry kit maker Renishaw's (RSW) posts superb half-year results with pre-tax profit more than doubling to £56.6 million, and revenues up 37%. But the figures were well flagged, and the shares nudge just 1% higher to 2363p.
Among bigger movers, Potato supplier Produce Investments (PIL:AIM) plummets 33.5p or almost 20% to 135p after warning full-year profits will fall 'substantially' short of expectations. Produce blames a supply glut following last year's bumper crop of potatoes, falling fresh potato consumption and pricing pressure exerted by the supermarkets.
Bulletin board favourite Fitbug (FITB:AIM) jumps 30% to 7p on news its digital health coaching platform Kiqplan has become a member of the newly-launched Jawbone Marketplace, which features best-in-class devices and apps spanning fitness, sleep, food and the smart home.
Car repair manuals firm Haynes Publishing's (HYNS) sees first half revenues slump 20% to £11.9 million as tough trading conditions continue top bite. EBITDA collapses 44% to £1.9 million, demonstrating the geared effect on profits, sparking a 7% share price slide to 114p.
UK shale gas play Igas Energy (IGAS:AIM) is up 19.6% to 31.7p on rumours private chemicals firm Ineos wants to buy a stake in its acreage.
Mobile apps platform operator Mobile Streams (MOS:AIM) leaps 12.4% to 11.38p, as it reassures investors over trading. It sees second half revenues of about £18.5 million, albeit down from £27 million, due to the devaluation of Argentina's Peso. It insists that Peso-denominated revenues were in line, on the year.
Media company Next Fifteen Communications (NFC:AIM) intends to tap investors for £4.3 million of investment funding. It also expects to exceed the top end of market expectations for its full year. The shares rally 8% to 160.5p.
Healthcare and drug trials specialist Hutchison China MediTech (HCM:AIM) advances 4.2% to £14.70 on expanding its relationship with AstraZeneca (AZN) by agreeing to distribute its schizophrenia drug Seroquel in China.
Private equity and infrastructure group 3i (III) falls 2.6% to 452p as share price gains in recent months raced ahead of underlying net asset value growth (NAV). NAV increased 5% in the three months to end-December, including an interim dividend, and now stands at 369p.
Paypoint (PAY) sheds 3.1% to 852p as it reports reduced energy usage impacted bill payment transactions through its store-based terminals. It has also been hit by an adverse value added tax ruling which will cost it between £1 million and £2 million this year.