London stocks loss early gains as caution once again grips UK stock markets with the mood still dominated by the delicate state of the negotiations between Greece and its creditors. Having ticked up first thing the FTSE 100 index drifts back modestly, with little in the way of corporate news to stimulate interest, the blue-chips nudging around 14 points lower to 6,776.
The midcaps FTSE 250 and the FTSE All-Shares barely move at all, currently sitting at 17,871 and 3,696 respectively.
The Footsie leader board, such as it is, is led by a 2.3% rise to £10.87 by publishing group Reed Elsevier (REL), while miners bear the brunt of the fallers, Anglo American (AAL) heading the Footsie loser board with a 2% decline to 985.1p.
Supermarkets titan Tesco (TSCO) ticks 0.05p higher to 203.55p on reports it has invited at least six firms, including leading private equity players, to bid for its Homeplus business in South Korea.
Among the bigger movers, scientific research equipment engineer Oxford Instruments (OXIG) sheds 4.9% to £10.14 as earnings per share decline 29% in the year to end-March. Tighter trade sanctions on Russia, slower-than expected recovery in Japan and weaker trading in its industrial analytics business is likely to add further pressure on earnings in the year ahead.
Gold producer Pan African Resources (PAF:AIM) falls 7.6% to 10.63p after a profit warning and news that it had expanded into the coal sector with the acquisition of an operational mine in South Africa.
And new funding arrangements also power fellow exploration tiddler SacOil (SAC:AIM), up 11% to 1.25p. It has received $10 million from Ecobank, associated with the cash collateral that secured the performance bond on OPL 233.
Blood monitor device-maker Deltex Medical (DEMG:AIM) advances 7.6% to 7p on tests in the US proving that its oesophageal Doppler machine reduces the length of stay in hospital following surgery by 25%. The results open up urology and gynaecology as potential new markets.
Microcap Croma Security Solutions (CSSG:AIM) rallies 11% to 53.5p as it secures a new three-year contract with cinema chain Odeon to provide planned maintenance, servicing, installation and upgrade works to its cinemas. The deal is believed to be worth close to £1.2 million over the period.
Elsewhere, Pets at Home (PETS) falls 8.9p (3.2%) to 272.10p as private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts reduces its stake, having placed 108 million shares in the specialist retailer-to-veterinary services play at 267p.
Aluminium-to-iron ore specialist Vedanta Resources (VED) jumps 4% to 567.5p after responding to speculation that it would be merged with oil and gas business Cairn India. The miner says such a deal, if it proceeded, would be a reverse takeover. It pledges a commitment to stay listed on the London Stock Exchange but doesn't say whether the deal is going to happen, merely commenting: 'Vedanta will make appropriate disclosures as and when required.'
Rigid plastic packaging group RPC (RPC) gains 2.4% to 633p on a 33% increase in adjusted pre-tax profit to £119 million for the year to 31 March with revenue up 17% to £1.2 billion. This was driven by its acquisitions of Promens and PET Power and an above-forecast performance in the injection moulding division.
Obesity and diabetes compound developer OptiBiotix (OPTI:AIM) falls 3.2% to 37.2p on forming a development and commercial alliance with healthcare consumer products group Venture Life (VLG:AIM) to create food supplements.