London shares hit the skids in early trade on Tuesday as investors take their cue from Asian markets and further concerns about Chinese growth. The benchmark FTSE 100 index drifts around 50 points lower to 6,321, mirroring declines being registered right across Europe.
In corporate news, Pilsner Urquell-to-Grolsch maker SABMiller (SAB) soars 9% to £39.48 after agreeing 'in principle' to Budweiser brewing behemoth AB InBev's (BUD:NYSE) fourth takeover offer, pitched at a 50% premium to the undisturbed share price. Under the terms of the predator's fourth offer, SABMiller shareholders would be entitled to £44 per share in cash; there's also a partial share alternative designed to win over SABMiller's major shareholders.
Royal Mail (RMG) feels the heat of selling pressure again as the government offloads its remaining 13% stake in the business. The sale raised £591.1 million and was offered at 455p a share. Royal Mail stock trades 4.9% lower at 451p.
Microcap audio-visual display advertising specialist MediaZest (MDZ:AIM) leaps 36.4% to 0.22p as it expects £1 million in revenue from some major projects before the end of 2015. We gave our view on the stock late last year – results for the six months to 30 September will be announced in November 2015.
And in then mining minnow space, Galantas Gold (GAL:AIM) dives 11% to 4p as it reveals that previously given planning permission for underground mining beneath its existing open pit in Omagh may be challenged.
Digital buying platform operator Proactis (PHD:AIM) strengthens 5.8% to 100p as full year pre-tax profits jump 10-fold from £146,000 to £1.5 million. It also proposes a final dividend of 1.2p a share, from 1.1p. There's also a neat contract win with Screwfix.
Recruiters lead a mini charge helped by a solid first quarter update by finance staffer Michael Page (MPI). Net fee income (NFI) was up 10.2% at constant currencies, notching a fifth consecutive year of double digit gains in the key performance metric. The UK was the strongest territory excluding currency adjustments, posting a 12.5% improvement in NFI. Shares in PageGroup trade 2.5% higher at 478p while sector peer Hays (HAS) gains 0.9% on the back of the news.
Shares in Barclays (BARC) fall 2.7% to 249.5p on reports that former JP Morgan (JPM:NYSE) investment banker James Staley is to be its new chief executive. This could be taken as a sign that the investment bank will remain central to Barclays’ strategy.
Pre-natal genetic test specialist Premaitha Health (NIPT:AIM) rises 2.9% to 13.1p on taking the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine on as a client. It has strengthened its board with several new appointments including Dr William Denman joining as chief medical officer.
Emerging markets-focused luxury motor retailer Inchcape (INCH) cheapens 5.5p to 734p on the news long-serving numbers man John McConnell has tendered his resignation to leave the group and return to his native Australia.
US onshore E&P Empyrean Energy (EME:AIM) gains 3.6% to 7.25p as an updated audit of its 3%-owned Sugarloaf asset in Texas revealed an 11.6% increase in net proved and probable (2P) reserves to 14.11 million barrels of oil.