London markets get off to a slow start but turn losses into gains within the first couple of hours of trading on Tuesday. Having posted initial 10 point losses the FTSE 100 index is trading a little more than 7 points higher at 6,863, as investors put EU/Greece talks to one side and concentrate on the positives. Mid caps do even better, the FTSE 250 index rallying 67 points, or 0.4%, to 16,928 thanks to a string of upbeat corporate announcements scattered through the index.
Assorted resources stock head the Footsie rise, led by mining group Anglo American (AAL), while Royal Mail (RMG) is the day's biggest blue-chip loser, shedding 3.4% to 432.7p, as investment bank Morgan Stanley cut its price target.
Bulletin board favourite and mobile payments network Monitise (MONI:AIM) leaps 7% to 23p as it spells out high hopes of sealing a takeover deal having had 'constructive talks' with third parties, believed to include FIS, IBM and Oracle. This will cheer investors given the company's ongoing dismal operating performance, with half-year EBITDA losses tripling.
Oil services firm Wood Group (WG.) is among the big mid cap winners, rallying 7.4% to 676.5p after hiking its full year pre-tax profit from continuing operations to $475.1 million, from $346.8 million the year before. Its total dividend was $0.275, up from $0.22
Also running strongly is speciality insurer Brit (BRIT), which jumps 10.2% to 302.3p as it agrees a £1.2 billion takeover by Canadian firm Fairfax Financial. Brit has been listed for less than a year (2 Apr).
Hotelier InterContinental Hotels (IHG) tumbles 2.7% to £25.17 on a 3% fall in operating profit to $651 million and a 2% drop in revenue to $1.9 billion for the year ending December 2014, largely driven by the sale of a hotel in San Francisco and the disposal of an 80% interest in New York. Pre-tax profit is flat at $600 million. The company is proposing a 10% increase in the total dividend for the year to 77c.
Car dealing giant Pendragon's (PDG) shares continue to motor, up another 2% to 39.25p on strong full-year results and a doubled final dividend. There's a also a confident outlook statement from CEO and seasoned motor dealer Trevor Finn.
Among the bigger market movers, organ transplant specialist Lifeline Scientific (LSIC:AIM) says operating profit for 2014 was higher than the $2.2 million expected. The shares leap 26.6% to 142.5p on the update.
Resources minnow Ambrian (AMBR:AIM) has entered into a conditional agreement relating to the merger of its Swiss subsidiary, Ambrian Metals, with Consolidated General Minerals (Schweiz) AG, a subsidiary of Consolidated General Minerals. Ambrian rises 19% to 7.75p.
Asset manager River & Mercantile (RIV) takes advantage of recent weakness at energy consultant Utilitywise (UTW:AIM), upping its stake from 10.4% to 11% of the business. CF Woodford Equity Income (ISIN:00BLRZQ513) raised its stake from below 16% to more than 19% in the last month. Utilitywise trades flat at 219p.
Coal trader and producer Hargreaves Service (HSP:AIM) sheds 9%, falling to 517p, as it flags a slowdown in orders from power generators. A mild winter and increased gas in the UK energy mix means its customers are now overstocked with coal.
Elsewhere, high performance leather supplier Pittards (PTD:AIM) cheapens 5.6% to 134p on the cautious tone of its latest trading missive, flagging difficulty in predicting future business due to global economic uncertainty.
Global remittances platform Earthport (EPO:AIM) underscores the rapid growth in which it is in by flagging strong growth in new client wins and pipeline of prospects, plus 90% increase in organic revenues. The shares rally 4% to 43.5p
Digital buying platform suppliers Proactis (PHD:AIM) nudges a little more than 2% higher to 90p as it reports robust first-half trading that saw revenues more than double and EBITDA jump 175%. The company is a former Shares Play from May 2014 at 55p.
Former stock market vodka bars operator Revolution Bars plans to have another crack at stock market life, saying it hopes to float after 10 years under the ownership of private equity firm Alchemy Partners. The company, formerly called Inventive Leisure, has 58 sites across the UK, says it has repositioned itself with a 'new cocktail, premium drink and food-led strategy' and is focusing its bars on operating during the day as well as in the evening.