London investors continue to scale back their appetite for risk, sending the FTSE 100 plunging again in early trade on Tuesday. The UK benchmark tumbles another 70-odd points, or nearly 1.1%, to 6,549, and there's a very real chance the index could close below the 6,600 mark for the first time since 19 January.
In an otherwise fairly quiet day for corporate news, online supermarket Ocado (OCDO) fails to convince despite half-year results showing strong new customer growth. But the shares cheapen 3% to 417.15p as investors home in on falling average basket values as Ocado highlights 'some decline in selling prices driven by greater price competition' as the groceries price war bites.
High street bank TSB (TSB) ends its short life as a listed independent. Spanish lender Sabadell’s £1.7 billion takeover of the high street bank is close to completion after the deal went unconditional. The target rises 0.3% to 339.8p on the news that it is expected to cease trading on the London Stock Exchange on 28 July.
Among the bigger movers, embattled horticulture products play William Sinclair (SNCL:AIM) slumps another 23.3% to 11.5p on poor interim results and uncertainty over market appetite for the cash-strapped company's much-needed significant placing.
Elsewhere, microprocessors designer Imagination Technologies (IMG) makes 2% gains to 220p despite rising operating losses. Revenues for the full year to 30 April jump £177 million, up from £170.8 million last time, although the company remains upbeat about the operational gearing effect on profit margins from new licences on both its GPU and CPU sides.
UK and Spain-focused van hire specialist Northgate (NTG) sheds 7% to 575p and is the biggest FTSE 350 faller despite what look like in-line results. Currency headwinds as the euro weakens and gains from a reduced depreciation charge mean the market has taken a cautious view on the full-year numbers to the year to 31 April 2015. Underlying earnings per share hit 50p, up from 29.9p a year earlier. But analysts at Numis see increasingly little upside despite calling the figures 'solid.' The group also bids farewell to chairman Bob Mackenzie.
Film studio Pinewood (PWS) is up 2.9% to 468p on a strong set of prelims boosted by hosting high profile productions like Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens, Avengers: Age of Ultron and the 24th Bond film, Spectre. Revenues hit a record £75 million - up 17% year-on-year - with operating profits increasing 18.4% to £5.8 million.
Middle East focused E&P Gulfsands Petroleum (GPX:AIM) falls 3.8% to 10.1p as it announces plans to raise up to $22 million, most of it through a placing of shares to institutional investors, to repay a loan facility with Dubai-based Arawak Energy and for working capital.
Carpets, rugs and laminates retailer Carpetright (CPR) clips 10.75p higher to 600.25p on well-received finals including a leap in underlying pre-tax profit, 7.3% UK like-for-like sales growth and a return to profit in the Rest of Europe. UK like-for-likes are up 4.9% in the opening eight weeks of the new financial year too, though there is disappointment the Essex-based company hasn't declared a dividend.
Regeneration specialist St Modwen Properties (SMP) advances 2% to 453.9p on a 21% rise in net asset value to 394p a share in the six months to the end of May. It also doubled its asset sale profits to £41.3 million during the period, which pushed its interim dividend up 30% to 1.9p a share.