UK stocks reverse the early positive mood to shift into the red in morning trade on Wednesday as initial bargain hunters run out of steam amid ongoing concerns over global growth. The FTSE 100 index drifts around 10 points lower, having started the day making single digit moves higher, at 6,127.
In company news, online beach travel agent On the Beach (OTB) surges 17.4% to 197p as its maiden results for the year to 30 September reveal a 46.5% rise in underlying profit before tax to £14.5 million with revenue 37.9% higher at £63.1 million. The group, which floated on 28 September, will shortly launch in Norway and start offering long-haul holidays.
Public transport operator Stagecoach (SGC) crashes 13.8% to 307p as the group blames cuts to its full year forecasts on last month's Paris attacks, citing a reluctance on the part of passengers to travel to major cities.
Studio equipment maker Focusrite (TUNE:AIM) plunges 15% to 161.5p on concerns about slower-than-expected initial sales of new products in the first quarter of the new financial year and the weaker Euro. Pre-tax profit in the year to 31 August is up 12% to £6.5 million while revenue is 17% higher at £48 million. It has proposed a maiden final dividend of 1.2p, making 1.8p for the year.
TV and film rights business Entertainment One (ETO) pulls out of its tailspin - up 11.1% to 156.5p - as it elaborates on the reasoning for a poorly received refinancing and chief executive Darren Throop buys more than £180,000 worth of shares. The release hints strongly at M&A activity.
Budget accommodation provider EasyHotel (EZH:AIM) climbs 8.6% to 69.5p on a 38% rise in full year pre-tax profit to £790,000, driven by strong performances at its owned hotels in Glasgow and London's Old Street. It has identified the potential for 12,000 owned EasyHotel rooms, but warns returns on new sites might be lower than its previous target of 15% due to higher land prices. The board has proposed a maiden final dividend of 0.33p per share.
Energy supply business Flowgroup (FLOW:AIM) jumps 11% to 17.25p as it signs an exclusive conditional agreement with Shell Energy Europe that could substantially boost its energy supply business. But investors are also hoping the deal could further seed customer demand for Flowgroup's micro combined heat and power boilers too.
Price comparison site Moneysupermarket.com (MONY) is up 4.8% to 335.3p as Jefferies upgrades to 'buy' with a price target of 440p.
Oncology and immunology-focused drug company Tiziana Life Sciences (TILS:AIM) improves 3.4% to 209.3p on naming 20-year biotech veteran James Tripp as chief operating officer. The appointment comes a day after the company tapped investors for £3.8 million of development funds.
Sausage skins manufacturer Devro (DVO), one of Shares key food producer picks, adds 0.75p at 284p after announcing the appointment of a new numbers man, with Rutger Helbing set to join in as finance director in April.
Rare books-to-decorative prints retailer Scholium (SCHO:AIM) settles back 0.5p to 41p after an upwards share price spike in October. As previously flagged to the market, interims confirm a return to profitability in continuing businesses; chairman Jasper Allen reports an encouraging start to the second half too.
A 3% drop in revenue between 1 July and 21 November sees global aviation support specialist BBA Aviation (BBA) sliding 1.2% to 167.3p after a trading update from the £1.76 billion cap revealed turnover falls in the flight support and aftermarket services divisions.
Heavy construction specialist Balfour Beatty (BBY) is 2.5% higher at 268.9p after a trading statement reassures investors that the £1.88 billion cap's transformation programme remains on track and that the constructor has agreed a new £400 million syndicated revolving credit facility, refinancing the existing facilities that had been due to expire in 2016.