London shares tank in early trade on Friday as Greece is once again thrust into the limelight. Greek prime minister Alex Tsipras has stood down from his post in response to the most recent bail out deal with the rest of the EU, paving the way for new elections and putting investors worldwide into a spin. This, plus fears of a slowing global recovery, saw a big sell-off overnight in the US, with leading Asian markets also falling fast.
China's Shenzhen exchange bore the brunt of the rout in Asia, falling 4.6%, which is more bad news for FTSE 350 investment trust Fidelity China Special Situations (FCSS), down 5.2% at 115p.
Other assorted financials, including St James's Place (STJ) and London Stock Exchange (LSE), are also dragged lower in a broad-based sell-off, falling 1.8% and 1.6%, respectively.
The benchmark FTSE 100 index starts Friday nursing a near-40 point bloody nose, a decline of about 0.6%, to 6,328, while Europe's major markets are also off similarly, led by Spain's IBEX 35, down close on 0.8% at 10,506. A further slump in oil prices adds to the squeeze, the barrel price of black gold hitting its lowest levels since January.
On the company front, drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) slides 1.1% to £13.54 as it agrees to sell its multiple sclerosis and other auto-immune condition treatment ofatumumab to Swiss outfit Novartis (NOVN:VTX) for up to $1 billion. The deal will help GSK focus on its core HIV, oncology, vaccine, cardiovascular, immuno-inflammation and respiratory businesses, although the market is unsure about the value creation of the deal.
Oil major Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) edges lower as its unit Sarawak Shell transfers its 50% stake as operator of the MLNG Dua liquefied natural gas plant to Malaysian state oil firm Petroliam Nasional. The shares dip 0.8% to £17.395.
Among bigger movers, gas producer and running Shares Play of the Week Wentworth Resources (WRL:AIM) is up 18.4% to 36.12p as it delivers first gas from its Mnazi Bay project in Tanzania into a new transnational pipeline.
Derivatives broker TechFinancials (TECH:AIM) collapses 30% to 19.5p as it reveals flat half-year revenues and says it will miss full year expectations.
Business services minnow CPPGroup (CPP:AIM) rallies 30% to 11p as it reports a strong bounce into the black at the interim stage. The £90 million company posts after-tax profit from continuing operations of £17.1 million, a substantial improvement after last year's £1.9 million interim deficit.
Elsewhere, ferry services and security tiddler Westminster (WSG:AIM) gets a hammering as it reports major damage to its flagship vessel in West Africa. The implied 15-day operational halt sees the shares slump 10% to 17.25p.
Private hospital group Spire Healthcare (SPI) dives 12.5% to 351.1p on a lower than expected 7.8% rise in first half revenues to £449.8 million. A cautious outlook for the second half was another blow. Admissions from the NHS are expected to fall in the six months to the end of December after fines for treatment delays were suspended.