London stocks sour on opening with blue-chip oil majors wilting alongside crude prices on heightened fears the global supply glut will last longer than expected. Multiple financials, especially banks on PPI worries, and leisure outfits are on the back foot. European markets are down around 2%.
Repeating the theme which has dominated 2016 so far the oil and gas sector is again under pressure on further oil price weakness. BP (BP.) slips 2.8% to 340p while Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) is down 3.1% to £13.58.
Online betting marketer XLMedia (XLM:AIM) weakens 3.2% to 61.2p as it announces a strategic review of the business and say it will consider all options to try to maximise shareholder value. The Israeli firm says this could include a acquiring or merging with another company, raising funds from a third party or a sale of the business.
E&P Egdon Resources (EDR:AIM) is up 5.3% to 8.43p as it agrees a farm-out with Union Jack Oil (UJO:AIM) - ahead 7% to 0.12p - of the Laughton-1 exploration well and two other conventional prospects in its PEDL209 licence.
Merged electricals-to-telecommunications titan Dixons Carphone (DC.) cheapens 8.6p to 458.5p despite a better-than-expected Christmas trading update. Total like-for-like sales were up 5%, reflecting a record Black Friday and market share gains in all markets and Dixons Carphone also upgrades full-year profit before tax guidance to between £440 million-£450 million. Yet the shares reverse as the retailer says the roll-out of its 3-in-1 store concept (PC World, Currys, Carphone Warehouse), involving refurbishments and store closures, will require £50 million of refit costs and see the retailer take a £70 million exceptional charge.
Pub company Marston's (MARS) surges 3.3% to 155.7p after reporting record Christmas sales for the fourth year in a row. Like-for-like sales in its destination and premium pubs rose by 4.9% over the festive fortnight and by 3% in the 16 weeks to 23 January, ahead of expectations. Volumes of its own-brewed beer are up 21% in the year to date.
Imperial Leather soap-to-St Tropez tan maker PZ Cussons (PZC) is in a lather, off 6.6% at 255.6p on lacklustre interims and a cautious outlook statement. Sales and operating profit are broadly flat due to tough trading conditions in Nigeria, as well as the impact of weaker currencies in Asia and Africa.
Carpet and floor coverings retailer Carpetright (CPR) sheds 10% at 405p as its third quarter update contains disappointing guidance on gross margins, now expected to be down between 100-150 basis points due to more promotional market conditions and a higher mix of lower margin beds and wood flooring. Carpetright delivered its ninth consecutive quarter of UK like-for-like sales growth in Q3, though there was some softening of same-store sales before Christmas amid lower footfall. Shares flagged the emergence of a new and ambitious rival to Carpetright in our look at retail competitive threats here.
Technology and healthcare investor Imperial Innovations (IVO:AIM) slides 4.6% to 354.8p after committing £10 million to a £31.5 million fundraising for portfolio company Inivata, a cancer diagnostic developer. The deal adds to Innovation’s original £1.5 million investment and gives it 30% of the business.
A disappointing update from Avon Rubber (AVON) sees shares in the £259.8 million cap plummet 14% to 860.35p. The company informs investors that dairy market conditions remained soft in the first quarter of the financial year.
A strong set of final results from housebuilder Crest Nicholson (CRST) sees stock advance 5.9% to 543p. The £1.3 billion cap unveils robust progress across all metrics from volumes, sales and margin through to landbank and dividends.