Strong gains across the mining sector fail to stem overall negative sentiment on London markets in early trading, the FTSE 100 slipping 48 points to 6,515. Airlines lead the Footsie loser board, with both Easyjet (EZJ) and International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) down 3.8% to £14.11 and 3.7% to 357.6p respectively.
But the big news today comes from the revelation that FTSE 100 miner and commodity trader Glencore (GLEN) made a takeover approach for Rio Tinto (RIO) in the summer sends the latter's share price up 5.2% to £31.52. Rio rejected a merger proposal and analysts don't reckon Glencore will be able to get a revised deal away, saying Rio shareholders wouldn't support a take out without a big premium and there's limited synergy benefits from marrying the companies.
Fellow resources giant Anglo American (AAL) rises 2% to £13.74, no doubt as investors speculate it could be a takeover target for Glencore if Rio Tinto refuses to play ball.
A slide in demand in the US and China has hit telecoms tester Spirent Communications (SPT), which warns that revenues and profits in the third and fourth quarters will miss expectations. The company is investing more in R&D to to help stimulate demand but, as Shares argued last week that this alone may not provide a solutions.
A bearish research note from analysts at Bank of America sends asset manager Schroders (SDR) tumbling 2.7% to £22.88, citing unbundling regulations as a key risk.
Investors in mid-cap oil firm Cairn Energy (CNE) finally get some good news as it announces it has discovered significant volumes of oil with its FAN-1 exploration well offshore Senegal. The shares rise 10.6% to 199p in response though are still down by more than a quarter year-to-date thanks to an ongoing Indian tax probe and previous drilling disappointments.
Cross-border payments platform operator Earthport (EPO:AIM) rises nearly 5% to 43.75p as the company wins a contract with Standard Chartered (STAN). No financial details are given but the bank's large Asian exposure appears to bode well for micro-payment volumes for this running Shares Play of the week.
A supplier to mobile commerce business MoPowered (MPOW:AIM) has refused to take the company's shares as part of its payment. That's forced the AIM company to expand a previously announced £3.5 million share placing at 5p per share by 15%. MoPowered shares have been a disaster since joining AIM in December last year at 100p per share, and after today's near 6% decline, the stock is trading 6.25p, 93% down in 10 months.
Shares in Norcros (NXR) advance 7.6% to 16p in early trading. The bathroom fit-out specialist reports underlying operating profit for the year is likely to be 11% ahead of the previous year at £7.4 million despite currency headwinds.
Improving conditions in the UK employment market help recruiter Robert Walters (RWA) increase net fee income by 16% for the nine months to end-September, driven by a 21% increase in the UK. The shares nudge 5p higher to 308p.