UK shares make a modest attempt at a rally following a massive China-driven sell-off on Monday, with investors on the hunt for value-buying opportunities. The benchmark FTSE 100 index rises 25 points, or about 0.35%, to 6,114. This after a poor overnight turn on Wall Street, with Asian markets also lower.
In corporate news, high street clothing colossus Next (NXT) is marked down 3.2% to £69.60 as a disappointing Christmas and fourth quarter trading update, blamed mainly on November and December's unusually warm weather, triggers full-year earnings downgrades. Online and catalogue arm NEXT Directory's sales grew a meagre 2% between 26 October and Christmas Eve, a lame performance compounded by poor stock availability and a tougher online competitive environment. We'll look at the update in more detail here later.
Hard-pressed groceries giant Tesco (TSCO) ticks up 4.6% to 148.85p as Deutsche Bank upgrades its recommendation on the stock from 'hold' to 'buy'.
Mining stocks hitch a ride on the rebound in copper and iron ore prices following yesterday’s slump amid China-related economic fears. Vedanta (VED), Glencore (GLEN), Anglo American (AAL) and BHP Billiton (BLT) are all in the top 10 risers on the FTSE in early trading.
Broadcast software platform supplier Motive Television (MTV:AIM) jumps 14% to 0.02p as it strikes a deal with its largest convertible loan note (CLN) holder to acquire its £1.4 million of CLN's for £0.1 million cash, plus a five-year warrant to acquire 5% of the company. Completion of the acquisition is scheduled no later than 15 January 2016.
Sigma Capital (SGM:AIM), up 11% to 104p, expects to deliver a full year pre-tax profit of more than £2 million, significantly ahead of current market expectations, following a stronger than anticipated second half.
Jersey Oil & Gas (JOGAIM) rallies 9% to 13.25p after signing a sales and purchase agreement with Azinor Catalyst for the farm-out of its 50% interest in Seaward production licence P.1989 Blocks 14/11, 12 & 16 held via its wholly owned subsidiary Trap Oil. The balancing 50% interest in the licence is currently held by Norwegian Energy Company UK.
Payments minnow MySQUAR (MYSQ:AIM) rises 7% to 5.63p as it reveals a big jump in users. The company reports a 150% increase in the number of payments users across its product suites to more than two million between May and December.
In the similar space, one-click payments play Bango (BGO:AIM) has expanded its agreement and integration with US software giant Microsoft (MSFT:NDQ) to deliver carrier-billed payments across Windows 10 devices. That news sparks a near-7% jump in Bango's share price to 111p.
Packaging company RPC (RPC) falls 5.4% to 776p after more than 50 million shares are admitted to the main market following the announcement of a rights issue on 14 December to fund its acquisition of Global Closure Systems, a manufacturer of closures and dispensing systems for consumer products.
Online gambling company Bwin.Party (BPTY) gains 1.1% to 130.4p on a 5% rise in fourth quarter net revenue driven by sports betting and casino, particularly via mobile channels. It says 'significant' progress has been made on achieving cost savings, which together with the forthcoming Euro Championship is expected to drive growth in 2016. GVC's (GVC:AIM) takeover of Bwin is due to complete on 1 February.
Agriculture, food and engineering combine Carr's (CARR) cheapens 2p to 147.5p on an AGM trading update that flags numerous challenges. Storm Desmond-driven flooding has affected many of Carr's customers in Cumbria, UK feed block sales have disappointed due to warm autumn and the engineering arm is off to a slow start to the year, though Carr's still expects to achieve full-year forecasts.
Cancer therapeutic developer Scancell (SCLP:AIM) jumps 6.2% to 21.1p on a review of its work being published in Cancer Research, a US medical journal. Appearing in the publication is seen as an endorsement of its approach to fighting cancer.
Royal Mail (RMG) is leading the risers in the FTSE100 after broker Cantor Fitzgerald raised its rating on the back of cost cutting progress and in-line earnings in the first half. Shares in the £4.4 billion cap are up 2.3% at 447p.
Under pressure industrial conveyer belts manufacturer Fenner (FENR) is hit by the departure of chief executive officer (CEO) Nick Hobson because of ill health. Chairman Mark Abrahams will fill in as CEO in the short term although Abrahams himself is due to the leave the business in February 2017. Shares in Fenner trade 0.2% highe at 140p.