London shares were hit with frenetic selling in early deals, pushing blue chips and mid caps to more than 12-month lows, and causing gold prices to spike and UK bond yields to tighten. Crude was notably lower. France's CAC 40 fell 3% and Germany's DAX dived 2.4%. The FTSE 100 is 145 points off at 5,527.
FTSE 100 miner Rio Tinto (RIO) falls 6.5% to £16.50 as full year earnings narrowly miss market forecasts. It has also amended the dividend policy which is likely to result in a lower pay-out for the 2016 financial year versus the previous year.
Publishing group Informa (INF) rises 6.1% to 626p as it swings back to profit with full year results ahead of expectations. Management have increased guidance on dividend growth for each of the next two years from 2% to 4%.
Food ingredients giant Tate & Lyle (TATE), a running Play of the Week, tumbles 7% to 541.25p as investors focus on the negatives within an overall solid third quarter update, full-year guidance of flat profits of £193 million reconfirmed. News Tate now expects a small loss rather than a profit from its commodities operations, and of continued pricing pressures facing key brand 'SPLENDA Sucralose', appear to weigh on sentiment.
Cheese and spreads brands business Dairy Crest (DCG) cheapens 6.5p to 598p, despite issuing an in-line third quarter trading update and announcing the production of infant formula ingredients has begun. Disappointment reflects the news proceeds from December's sale of the loss-making dairies division to Muller will be lower-than-expected at circa £30 million; together with some acquisitive outlay, this means net debt guidance for the March year-end is raised.
Travel agent Thomas Cook (TCG) falls 3.3% to 92.6p on a 7.2% drop in revenue to £1.4 billion in the three months to 31 December, with total bookings down 2% year-on-year. The group says the attacks in Paris and Istanbul have dented tourist confidence, but it has seen signs of recovery in recent weeks.
Domino's Pizza franchise DP Poland (DPP:AIM) surges 6.3% to 25.3p after reporting like-for-like sales growth of 16% in 2015, rising to 29% in January 2016. The group opened six stores in five cities last year and says it has a pipeline for significant further store openings in 2016 in new and existing cities.
Pub group Enterprise Inns (ETI) gains 2.3% to 74.4p after saying it has made a strong start to the financial year with like-for-like net income in the leased and tenanted estate growing by 1.6% in the 19 weeks to 6 February. The group is progressing with the expansion of its managed pubs division and expects to have in excess of 100 managed houses by 30 September.