London stocks sink into the red in early trade on Monday as pressure on the mining sector drag on the UK's leading index and renewed worries over the health of the UK high street following BHS's crash into administration. The FTSE 100 index slides around 35 points, or 0.5%, to 6,275.
BHP Billiton (BLT), Anglo American (AAL) and Rio Tinto (RIO) all feature among the bigger blue-chip losers as copper prices drop. Oil prices also decreased with Brent crude down 0.71% to $44.79 per barrel and West Texas Intermediate down 0.90% to $43.34 per barrel.
Heading the Footsie leader board is Tobacco giant Imperial Brands (IMB), previously known as Imperial Tobacco. Its shares gain 3.1% to £36.81 on the back of a bullish research note from Goldman Sachs. Investor concerns about reports of declining market share and the impact of UK plain packaging regulations, scheduled to be implemented on 20 May, are overdone, say analysts at the investment bank. First half results, to be published on 4 May, as well as a strategy update on 8 June are cited as key catalysts, the analysts add.
Beleaguered portable accommodation provider Snoozebox (ZZZ:AIM) plunges 31% to 1.1p on news its chief executive Lorcan O Murchu has resigned. The group says it has been conducting a 'comprehensive review' of the business and will publish its initial findings shortly.
Small cap St Ives (SIV:AIM) plummets on a trading update which says performance across all three of its marketing and books divisions are under pressure. Profit is expected to be ‘materially below expectations’ in the second half of its financial year, which runs to the end of July. SHARES flagged weakening cash flow performance, spiralling exceptional charges and increasing net debt following an update on 8 March.
More product delays spark a new profits alert at cloud enterprise software firm Outsourcery (OUT:AIM), the shares collapsing around 30% to 7.25p. The company, which will also need new emergency funding, says that full year results and current trading are in line with its views, but these factor in revenue growth from strategic partners being dented by further partner product launch delays. It will need further funding for short-term working capital.
South East-focused premium pub group Upham has announced its intention to float on the AIM market and raise up to £12 million to fund further acquisitions. It aims to double the size of its estate from 15 to 30 pubs in the medium term. Between 2013 and 2015 EBITDA rose to £900,000 from a loss of £200,000.
Gambling company GVC (GVC) rises 2.1% to 534.5p on a 10% rise in net gaming revenue to €248 million in 2015, its fifth consecutive year of revenue growth. Excluding the cost of the Bwin.Party acquisition, pre-tax profit is 21% higher at €50 million. The group is seeking admission to the Premium segment of the London Stock Exchange.
Plans to return cash to shareholders sends insurance run-off specialist Randall & Quilter (RQIH:AIM) 12% higher to 103p. Greater reserve released helped the company turn 2014’s £1.6 million loss into a 2.8 million pre-tax profit in 2015.
Higher prices and lower costs in the six months to 31 January sees self-storage company Lok’nStore (LOK:AIM) rise 5% to 319p. Pre-tax profits jumped 155% to £3.8 million, while the interim dividend was 14% higher year-on-year to 2.67p a share.
Diagnostic-maker Immunodiagnostic Systems (IDH:AIM) plummets 13.3% to 162.5p on further revenue losses expected in the current financial year as fewer labs renew their contracts to buy its core vitamin D tests.