UK stocks make modest early progress in what promises to be a quiet and shortened day's trading as investors turn their attention away from business and towards tonight's New Year festivities. The London market is set to close at 12.30pm today and there is little corporate news to generate interest, with chip designs champion ARM (ARM) heading the FTSE leader board, up 2% at £10.02, helping the FTSE 100 benchmark nudge 0.2% higher to 6,561.
Wall St lost ground overnight, while Asian markets were mixed.
Financial stocks also make modest gains. Old Mutual (OML) leads insurers with a 2% gain at 192.6p, while Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) adds 1% to £10.10 among financial services stocks.
But several blue-chips buck the rising trend, with travel group TUI (TUI) the biggest Footsie faller, down 1.7% at £10.73 as investor fret over the latest Ebola outbreak in Britain. Consumer goods giant Unilever (ULVR) loses 0.7% to £26.035, while Sainsbury (SBRY) slips 1% to 242p.
But the market's biggest share price jump is the 310% rocket to 17p of Asia Resource Minerals (ARMS) shares after the company won an arbitration ruling against former director Rosan Roeslani. This confirms Roeslani is obliged to make payment under the settlement for the sum of $173 million, although gettong the cash may not prove quite sop straight-forward.
Rose Petroleum (ROSE:AIM) slides 5% to 2.22p despite spudding its State 1-34 Mancos well in Grand County, Utah. This starts a planned seven-interval programme, covering a total of 19 individual potential pay zones in the State 16-42 Paradox well in the same county.
Tracking technology specialist Starcom (STAR:AIM) is sold down 10% to 13p as investors profit take after Monday's 70%-odd jump. That was sparked by the company signing a deal with a Porsche retail dealership in Germany for its Helios TT vehicle tracking system, raising hopes of wider adoption.
Bulletin board favourite Castleton (CTP:AIM) is also an AIM market casualty, the shares losing 9.8% to 2.08p after running up £287,000 of operating losses in the half to end September.