London markets are predictably quiet on a shortened New Year's Eve session with precious little corporate news to provide direction for share prices. The FTSE 100 index slides modestly, losing roughly 15 points, or 0.2%, to 6,263, although midcaps nudge lower still, the FTSE 250 off 0.3% at 17,467.
Oil prices will be likely again be in focus on Thursday after a decline sent equities into the red on Wednesday.
Pile 'em high. Sell 'em cheap leisure retailer Sports Direct (SPD) slides 0.2% to 568.25p as it confirms that all of its directly employed UK staff will be paid above the national minimum wage from 1 January. This change would cost the firm around an extra £10 million a year.
Grocery deliveries play Ocado (OCDO) is again a hefty faller, losing 4.5% at 300.9p, with investors becoming increasingly concerned about Amazon's (AMZN:NDQ) proposed moves into the same space. The US giant has a habit of taking market leading positions in new markets sectors.
Elsewhere among the retailers, Argos-owner Home Retail (HOME) is bid up 9.4% to 107.9p, possibly on reheated rumours of a bid for its Homebase chain, while GAME Digital (GMD) remains friendless, off another 4.4% to 120.5p as last week's pre-Christmas profit warning continues to leave a sour taste. The specialist video games seller blamed a faster-than-expected decline in the market for older gaming formats and a slower switch to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 software, as well as lower high street and shopping centre footfall year-on-year, for recent sales disappointment.
The smaller resources space is about the only place where anything of note is happening, with gold digger Serabi Gold (SRB:AIM) up 4.7% to 2.75p. The says its major shareholder Fratelli Investments has agreed to provide an interim unsecured short term working capital convertible loan facility of $5 million. The loan would provide the company with additional working capital facilities.
Independent Oil and Gas's (IOG:AIM) adds 3.3% to 15.75p as its Cronx licence has been extended by one year to 9 January 2017 by the Oil and Gas Authority. It has also agreed to extend the Sale and Purchase agreement with Swift Exploration by 9 months to 30 September 2016. The Cronx licence has a firm commitment to drill a well and so Independent would take on that obligation at completion.
Inspirit Energy (INSP:AIM) tumbles 4.6% to 0.42p as it posts a full year loss after tax of £572,000, albeit down from the £1.29 million the previous year. The says it has taken important steps in the commercialisation of its micro combined heat and power boilers 'Inspirit Charger 2.0' and 'Inspirit Charger 3.0' during the year.