London shares make a stab at arresting several days of declines but fail to avoid hitting three-month lows on Wednesday, ahead of a Federal Reserve policy decision. In early trade the benchmark FTSE 100 index slips a handful of points lower to 6,706, a far cry from April record highs of 7,103.98.
Telecoms giant BT (BT.A) heads the Footsie leader board, nudging 1.3% higher to 451.1p, as investors respond positively to its quad-play ambitions. Look out for Shares latest view on the stock in tomorrow's magazine, 'live' online from midnight.
Credit checker Experian (EXPN) is the biggest blue-chip faller, down 1.5% to £11.96.
Among the bigger movers, US-based micro-cap oily Sefton Resources (SER:AIM) slumps 42.9% to 0.08p as it raises £799,500 through placing 1.23 million shares at a discounted 0.065 pence a share. It also issues 615 million warrants to subscribe for shares at the same price - expiring on 31 August.
A positive exploration updates triggers a 16.4% rise in Finnaust Mining (FAM:AIM) to 1.63p. The miner has interesting metal projects in Finland and Austria.
A £3.5 million share placing at a 12% discount to last night's closing price takes the shine off West African miner Hummingbird Resources (HUM:AIM), which falls 6.7% to 35p. The cash will be used to advance the Yanfolila gold project in Mali.
Bahamian oil explorer Bahamas Petroleum (BPC:AIM) is up 16.9% to 2.45p as it gets the green light to drill on its four 100%-owned licences to the south of the islands - Bain, Cooper, Donaldson and Eneas. Under the terms agreed the first exploration well should commence drilling by April 2017.
Beleaguered education tech supplier Promethean World (PRW:AIM) leaps more than 30% to 35.63p as it gets approached by Hong Kong's NetDragon Websoft about a possible offer. NetDragon earlier confirmed it was in preliminary talks regarding a potential acquisition of up to $130 million, implying a rough £82 million take out price for Promethean which would mean near 50% premium. NetDragon has until July 14 to make a firm offer.
Also up on buyout news is IT kit tester Anite (AIE), on the end of an agreed £388 million deal from Keysight Technologies. That sparks a 23% jump in the share price to 126.75p. But shareholders may hold out for a better offer, this is a takeover story that could run.
Elsewhere, a story in the Darlington & Stockton Times says two local authorities have given their support to Sirius Minerals' (SXX:AIM) plans to build a potash mine in Yorkshire. It's a good vote of support, but these aren't decision makers on the planning permission. Investors are enthused nonetheless given a 6.1% rise in the share price to 21.75p. Read our thoughts on the company in this recent Shares article.
Insurance claims tech supplier Innovation Group (TIG) rallies close on 5% to 33p after bagging a major new contract. The banner software deal, with an unnamed Tier One UK Insurer, is worth £46 million over an initial 10-year term, of which £12 million is to be recognised over the next 12 months. Look out for Shares story on Innovation in tomorrow's magazine, ‘live’ online from midnight.
East African natural gas play and running Shares Play of the Week Wentworth Resources (WRL:AIM) is up 6.2% to 31.05p as development drilling on its Mnazi Bay concession in Tanzania as it builds towards first production in the third quarter of 2015.
Sports, fashion and outdoor brands purveyor JD Sports Fashion (JD.) firms 1p to 671p on news of a strong first 19 weeks of the new financial year, though the retailer does concede the weak Euro will hit margins in its European JD stores. Shares highlighted JD's momentum trade attractions here in April.
Luxury interior furnishings firm Walker Greenbank (WGB:AIM) waltzes 8p higher to 208p on a positive AGM update. The Sanderson, Morris & Co and Harlequin brand owner flags strong UK trading and an acceleration in international sales growth in the opening four-and-a-half months of the new financial year.
Mr. Kipling cakes-to-Bisto gravy maker Premier Foods (PFD) perks up 3.1p to 42p after Investec Securities upgrades its recommendation and price target respectively from 'hold' to 'buy' and from 47p to 51p.