London's leading shares open modestly lower in the first trading session of 2015 as traders back at their screens after the Christmas break keep close watch on a falling euro and another on latest data about the state of the Eurozone’s manufacturing sector. In early deals the benchmark FTSE 100 index eases off around 5 points to 6,660, with engineering group Weir (WEIR) heading the Footsie leader board, adding 3% to £19.11.
Investors also seem to be anticipating a solid Christmas for Mike Ashely's discount sports fashion retailer Sports Direct (SPD), bidding the stock 1.7% higher to 723p, while energy explorer BG (BG.) is also popular, adding 1.2% to 875.6p.
Heading the other way however is Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), down 1.8% to 387.3p, on speculation that the bank could be slapped with a £5 billion fine for selling toxic mortgaged-backed securities in the US.
A string of stocks were ex-dividend, among them Aveva (AVV), down 0.9% to £13.02, Baring Emerging Europe (BEE), down 2.7% to 481p, Dixons Carphone (DC.), down 1.2% to 457.05p, Dart Group (DTG), up 0.26% to 291.75p, and NewRiver Retail (NRR), flat at 295p.
Controversial insurance outsourcer Quindell (QPP:AIM) rallies 18% to 46.75p as it enters into an exclusive deal with an unnamed third party for the possible disposal of an operating division. In addition to cash generation initiatives continuing into 2015, Quindell is in early talks with a range of parties interested in exploring possible transactions relating to a number of its operating businesses.
Power supply business Rurelec (RUR:AIM) jumps, up 15% to 4.88p as it unveils the 5.3MW hydroelectric plant owned by its 93% indirect subsidiary Empresa de Generacion Electrica Canchayllo has received its commercial operations certificate and formally entered service in accordance with its power purchase agreement on 31 December.
Mining company Afarak (AFRK), unmoved at 25.25p, has signed a sale agreement in relation to part of the saw mill equipment the company acquired in 2008 for the cancelled investment project in Kostroma, Russia. The Company aims to sell the rest of the saw mill equipment during 2015.
Energy explorer Rose Petroleum (ROSE:AIM) subsidiary VANE Minerals has signed an agreement to sell its 50% interest in the Wate breccia pipe uranium project to EFR Arizona Strip for a total of $1.5 million. Rose's shares gain 6.19% to 2.23p.