UK market open heavily down as weak oil prices continue to weigh and investors turn their backs on utilities. Miners shrug-off some of the economic gloom that has surround the industry of late, particularly from China, with hopes strengthening over further stimulus in Beijing, but Greece concerns still dog market sentiment.
The FTSE 100 is slumps close on 70 points in early trade on Monday, or off roughly 1%, to 6,786, while mid caps suffer similar reverses, the FTSE 250 146 points lower at 16,539. WTI crude nudges a modest 0.3% gain to $51.84/bbl, although those wins are offset by the 0.4% slide of Brent crude, to $57.58/bbl.
Among the bigger movers, Kazakh focused oil exploration and production (E&P) company Max Petroleum (MXP:AIM) plunges 72.8% to 0.15p as it says its business is not viable without inward investment and/or a debt restructuring. We will have more on the story on the site later.
But putting in strong rallies among resources minnows is Asia Resource Minerals (ARMS), up 44% to 20.25p, as it signs a heads of terms ('HoT') with NR Holdings to underwrite a $100 million equity issue as part of the planned recapitalisation of the cash-strapped company.
Oil minnow TomCo Energy (TOM:AIM) also jumps, the shares 22% up at 22p, as it reveals an approved Notice of Intention to Commence Large Mining Operations (LMO) in Utah. TomCo has agreed to only begin full-scale operations under the LMO at such time as the results of Red Leaf Resources' nearby Early Production System capsule are available.
Rare books and fine art dealer Scholium Group (SCHO:AIM) is in serious danger of missing market expectations. 'In the worst case [it] could experience a substantial reduction in profitability,' the company spells out. It has decided to dispose of South Kensington Books and Ultimate Library. The shares collapse by more than 30% to 46.5p, more than halving the firm's 100p IPO price of March last year.
Digital vouchers minnow Eagle Eye (EYE:AIM) rallies nearly 4% higher to 187p as it sis a two-year deal to implement its Eagle Eye Air platform in Asda supermarkets. No financial details are available but the company says the deal will 'contribute material revenue' to Eagle Eye over the term.
UK-based E&Ps Egdon Resources (EDR:AIM) and Europa Oil & Gas (EOG:AIM) gain 2.3% to 8.95p and 3.6% to 5.7p respectively after flowing 80 barrels per day of quality crude oil from tests on their shared Wressle discovery in Lincolnshire. Their peer Union Jack Oil which also has a stake is flat at 0.24p.
Industrial services provider Cape (CIU) rises 4.3% to 222p as it creates a joint venture with French peer Prezioso Linjebygg SAS to bid for work on the nuclear new-build programme in the UK.
Boiler technology developer Inspirit Energy (INSP:AIM) has signed a letter of intent with a major multi national contract manufacturing services company that may lead to a significant manufacturing agreement being finalized during this quarter. It rose 5.26% to 1p.
African low-cost carrier Fastjet (FJET:AIM) adds 5.8% to 1.38p after the group's January passenger statistics revealed a 78% increase in the number of passengers carried to 55,695 as well as a 9% increase in load factor compared with the same month last year.
Agricultural bioscience outfit Plant Impact (PIM:AIM) adds 1.9% to 34.25p after a trading update shows turnover in the six months to the end of January had more than doubled to £2.5 million, largely on the back of sales growth in Veritas, the Group's soy product that increases the crop's yield in the Brazilian market.
Elsewhere in the specialty chemicals space, Plastics Capital (PLA:AIM) nudges 1% higher to 102.5p on the back of a third quarter trading statement which shows significant revenue improvement on a quarterly comparative as profit margins benefit from lower raw material prices and cost reduction programmes in the group's bearings business.
Medicine maker and distributor Quantum Pharma (QP.:AIM) advances 3.6% to 100p on adjusted pre-tax-profits comfortably beating expectations for the year to February. Growth was recorded across all areas of its business. Prelims due in May.