London shares lose early gains and plunge into the red on Tuesday ahead of the release of UK inflation data which is expected to show the consumer price index dipped to zero in August.
Analysts predict CPI fell to 0% year-on-year last month from 0.1% a month earlier, amid lower food and energy prices.
The FTSE 100 slides 60 points, or about 1%, to 6,021 matching the mood of a lower Wall Street overnight and a mixed Asia market this morning. Smaller companies set a more positive tone, the FTSE Small Cap index managing to stay mildly positive in the face of declines elsewhere.
It's a mixed bag on the corporate news front, although UK chip designs champion ARM (ARM) retains its spot at the top of the Footsie leader board for a second day straight, although weakening metals prices put miners under pressure, with Glencore (GLEN) the biggest faller among the blue-chips, off around 2% to 125.4p.
B&Q-to-Castorama owner Kingfisher's (KGF) wings are clipped, the shares down 3.14% to 349p as adverse currency moves cause a 2.3% drop in half-time pre-tax profit. There's also cautious guidance on the outlook for key market France, though the good news is CEO Veronique Laury is driving ahead with her radical restructuring plan, detailed in Shares recent home improvement sector report.
Online grocer Ocado (OCDO) gathers up 3.5% at 327p as investors welcome 15.3% growth in third quarter retail sales to £252 million, although the deflationary pressures in UK food retail sends Ocado's average order size down 1.1% to £110.46. CEO Tim Steiner says that 'notwithstanding the competitive nature of the marketplace, we expect to continue growing slightly ahead of the online grocery market.'
Among the bigger movers, resources minnow Mosman Oil & Gas (MSMN:AIM) leaps 21% to 7.88p as it signs an agreement regarding its proposed acquisition of an up to 70% interest in the South Taranaki Energy Project (STEP) assets in New Zealand by selling a 2% royalty to Canadian based Ridge Royaltyfor NZ$4 million.
Biotech tiddler Sareum (SAR:AIM) rallies 14% to 0.28p as it announces positive patent office news in the US and Europe. Patents will be granted for inventions associated with its Aurora+FLT3 Kinase Inhibitor Programme.
Going the other way, training and recruitment minnow Hydrogen (HYDG:AIM) slumps nearly 20% to 42.5p as it reports first half net income down 31% at £10.1 million. The sustained low oil price saw oil and gas revenues plunge 62% to £1.7 million.
Home, car and van insurer Hastings Direct intends to raise £180 million through listing on London’s main market in October. The proceeds will strength its underwriting and reduce debt. Reports estimate that the company will be worth up to £1.5 billion on admission.