London shares sag in early deals, following lower US and Asian markets, as miners and financials retreated. Ballast was also provided by some big-ticket corporate news with supermarkets a feature thanks to disappointment from Morrisons (MRW). The market is looking to Bank of England's interest rate and quantitative easing (QE) calls later today.
But retail is the big story of the day on the company news front, albeit a mixed bag for several blue-chip stocks. Embattled grocer Morrisons is marked down 8.4p (4.8%) to 167.5p on an interim sales and profits slump. Having announced the sale of its loss-making M local convenience business to Greybull Capital yesterday, the retailer says its downsizing will continue with the shutting down of another 11 supermarkets. Investors' patience is wearing thin as new CEO David Potts says 'the turnaround will take time and require sustained investment in the proposition.'
But better news comes from the fashion end of Britain's high streets with giant Next (NXT) rising 1.9% to £78.20 as it reiterates full-year sales and pre-tax profits guidance on the back of pleasingly robust interims.
Among the bigger movers, oil industry equipment minnow MyCelx (MYXR:AIM) jumps 26% to 62.5p as it narrows its half-year loss to £1.34 million. The company reported a £2.16 million deficit a year ago. Encouragingly, revenue is 16% up at £8.69 million, while its cost-control programme stays on track. But management continue to note a fairly tough backcloth around the fast-to-market lease equipment space.
Staying with energy tiddlers, Herencia Resources (HER:AIM) collapses 20% to 0.1p as it completes a £500,000 placing. Proceeds will be used to advance the Picachos project, finalise due diligence and talks on the potential Tambillos joint venture and for general working capital.
European non-life insurer Gable (GAH:AIM) falls 12.7% to 22.2p as it tumbles into the red. Last year's first half pre-tax profit of £2.5 million has slumped to a £2.4 million deficit this time round prompting investors to round on the company. Gable also says it must set more of its cash aside to cover claims and is looking to raise additional debt to meet reserve targets.
Elsewhere, merged electricals-to-telecommunications titan Dixons Carphone (DC.) clips ahead 9.1p to 429p on a positive first quarter trading statement, highlighting 10% like-for-like sales growth in the UK and Ireland, driven by strong phone sales.
Medical, life sciences and technology investor Amphion Innovations (AMP:AIM) climbs 6.3% to 6.3p after a judge refused to throw out its lawsuit against several US companies for infringing a patent belonging to portfolio company DataTern.
Kitty Bingo owner Stride Gaming (STR:AIM) rises 2.5% to 302.5p after reporting strong organic growth in the six months to 31 August. It says net gaming revenue for the full financial year will be not less than £25 million while adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) will be not less than £7 million.
Former FTSE 100 oil explorer Tullow Oil (TLW) dives 5.6% to 196p as Investec publishes research which suggests the company can either raise equity now or 'roll the oil price dice'. The broker, which has a sell recommendation and 175p price target, says it favours a recapitalisation and asset sale to repair the balance sheet.
Latin American E&P Global Energy Development (GED:AIM) is up 8.5% to 32p as interims reveal it is still sitting on $35 million of cash from the $50 million disposal of its Llanos basin assets as it has successfully scaled back costs. House broker Northland comments: 'The substantial fall in the oil price has left many producers struggling and Global Energy is well placed to capitalise.'