UK stocks remain largely flat on Wednesday with little corporate news to stimulate trading and the Chancellor's Autumn Statement announcement due out at 12:30. The FTSE 100 is fractionally off, down 2.5 points at 6,740 in early deals.
Online takeaway delivery service Just Eat (JE.) is a major drag as a group of shareholders behind its initial public offering earlier in the year raise £139 million by selling a 7.7% stake. The 43.5 million shares were sold at 320p, compared with Tuesday's close of 343.05p. The stock slides nearly 9% to 310p on Wednesday.
Postal group Royal Mail (RMG) is also sharply lower with both Credit Suisse and Jefferies cutting price targets to 380p and 360p respectively after yesterday's Ofcom announcement. Shares in Royal Mail are down 1.9% at 398p.
Accountancy software group Sage (SGE) is a strong runner on Wednesday as it talks up its chances of matching 2015 objectives. That rallies the shares 3.6% to 417.8p, heading the Footsie leader board, with investors also welcoming higher annual profits and key financial goals in 2014.
Bookmaker Ladbrokes (LAD) adds 1.76% to 115.5p after announcing Richard Glynn will step down as chief executive of the group in 2015 after five years in the role. The bookie says its recovery programme has taken longer to deliver than initially expected, but trading is in line with expectations and it is confident next year will see further operational and financial progress.
Kids TV merchandising group Character (CCT:AIM), which Shares recently flagged as a Christmas winner, advances 10.3% to 245.5p after reporting a profit before tax of £7.11 million for the year ended 31 August, up from £0.2 million in 2013. Revenue jumps 46% to £97.89 million driven by UK and international demand for its key ranges including Peppa Pig, Doctor Who and Fireman Sam. The group says sales in the lead up to Christmas are ahead of expectations and it is proposing a final dividend of 3.95p per share.
Specialist foils and packaging materials manufacturer API (API:AIM) tumbles 9.7% to 44p on a £0.33 million drop in first half profit before tax to £2.26 million, driven by a 24% fall in revenues at its US foils business. Profits for this financial year are expected to be 10% lower than previous expectations, although the group is increasing its interim dividend by 7.1% to 0.75p per share.
Healthcare software minnow Ultrasis (ULT:AIM) collapses 40% as it faces real danger of going out of business. The company admits that if it can't raise new cash by January 2015 it will likely have to close up shop entirely. The shares slump from 0.8p to 0.5p.
Drug developer Summit (SUMM:AIM) falls 7.7% to 107p as pharmaceutical investor Jim Mellon quits as a non-executive. He remains a shareholder, but is stepping down from the board due to a busy schedule.
Gift packaging to greetings cards maker International Greetings (IGR:AIM) cheapens 4.6% to 72.5p, despite delivering a 7.1% hike in half-year pre-tax profits to £4 million. Investors appear to be focusing on lower sales of £111.9 million (2013:£113.6 million), caused by foreign exchange movements, a slight decline in gross margins and the absence of forecast upgrades.
Bombed-out African agri-business Zambeef Products (ZAM:AIM), a producer of everything from beef and chicken to pork and eggs, racks up a 5.9% gain to 13.5p. Shares are bid up news talks are underway regarding the potential sale of its Zambia-based edible oil and soya meal arm Zamanita.
Chinese lottery product supplier DJI (DJI:AIM) climbs 2.5% to 102p on news it intends to list its shares on another stock exchange - either Hong Kong or the US - in the next 12 months.
Latin American unconventional resources play Andes Energia (AEN:AIM) advances 2.2% to 41.25p as it hails 'meaningful advance' towards unlocking the potential of its acreage in the Vaca Muerta shale basin in Argentina. The VG x-1 well on the Vega Grande field, originally drilled in 1984, produced on re-entry 80 barrels of oil a day from a 66 metre layer of shale without the aid of hydraulic fracturing.