UK markets start the week in the red with politics and commodity volatility driving sentiment.

The FTSE 100 dips 43 points (0.7%) to 6,292 and the FTSE 250 loses 90 points, or 0.5% to 17,100.

Hedge fund manager Crispin Odey is one of the few winners on Monday morning as Playtech (PTEC) abandons a proposed tie-up with trading platform Plus500 (PLUS:AIM).

Odey Asset Management, a shareholder in both Playtech and Plus500, previously opposed the deal saying it substantially undervalued Plus500.

The deal is being scrapped as it will not secure UK regulatory approval by the end of 2015, sending Playtech tumbling 10.8% to 759.5p and making it the biggest FTSE 350 loser.

Playtech says the termination increases the risk that its purchase of Ava Trade will also get cancelled.

Plus500 trades just 1.7% lower at 352p despite the cancellation of the deal amid heavy early trading in the stock.

Commodities, emerging markets

Resource stocks drag as West Texas Intermediate crude oil sinks 3% to $40.63 (£26.81) a barrel.

Yields push a little higher on 10-year government bonds and sterling weakens around half a cent against the dollar at $1.515.

A weekend pledge to up defence spending by £12 billion from British Prime Minister David Cameron’s helps struggling aerospace and defence manufacturer Rolls Royce (RR.) to the top of the FTSE 100 leaderboard, up 2.3% at 565p.

Losses on stock exchanges in China and Hong Kong overnight see luxury retailer Burberry (BRBY) among the London laggards, down 1.7% to £12.59.

Bombed-out Argos-to-Homebase owner Home Retail (HOME) is bid up 5.4% to 109p on takeover whispers. The Sunday Times reckons private equity firms are considering £1 billion takeover bids for the company, savaged following a profit warning (21 Oct) issued before the festive selling season.

The Argos website is reported to have crashed on Friday, impacted by a significant upsurge in traffic and raising questions as to how it will cope on Black Friday (27 Nov).


Small caps

Among the small caps, women's value fashion retailer Bonmarche (BON:AIM) falls almost 7% to 273.5p as interim pre-tax profit falls short of expectations, with second quarter online sales hit by disruption from the launch of a new online site.

CEO Beth Butterwick also refers to a challenging November caused by 'very mild, wet weather', though she says full-year expectations are unchanged 'provided that trading conditions normalise for the remainder of the financial year.'

Iodine producer Iofina (IOF:AIM) falls 27% to 14.5p as it warns a 4.7 magnitude earthquake close to its Iosorb facilities in Oklahoma could cut its output by 10-20%.

eSports business Gfinity (GFIN:AIM) gains 3.2% to 20p on news it has been appointed by Microsoft (MSFT:NDQ) to exclusively host the UK Halo World Championship 2016 qualifiers and finals. The finals will be played in front of a live audience at the Gfinity Arena in London and streamed online, with teams competing for a £10,000 prize pot.

Wearable fitness tracker maker Fitbug (FITB:AIM) climbs 3.9% to 2p after announcing the launch of Version 2 of its Kiqplan app, which is a digital health and fitness training programme. A free version of Kiqplan is now available, with a selection of tailored 12-week training programmes available to buy in-app or online.

Blood monitor-maker Deltex Medical (DEMG:AIM) gains 12.5% to 4.5p as it welcomes two further hospitals in the US as clients. The hospitals, one in the mid-west and the other in Washington State, have agreed to buy at least 30 adult surgical probes a month. It now has nine customers in the US and targets 30 by mid-2016.

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Issue Date: 23 Nov 2015