UK stock markets are back in reverse gear in early trade on Friday after the collapse of Greek debt talks at the Eurogroup meeting on Thursday. There may also be some residual nervousness over the upcoming budget, due on 8 Jul, details of which you can read here.
The FTSE 100 slumps more than 70 points, or more than 1%, to was down 0.72% at 6,737, while midcaps and the wider FTSE All Share both post similar declines. Mining stocks carry the can for dragging the blue-chips into the red as risk appetite falters, with Glencore (GLEN), BHP Billiton (BLT) and Anglo American (AAL) all near to the top of the Footsie loser board. But heading that list is UK chip designs champion ARM (ARM), off more than 3% at £11.10, albeit after a recent run of strength.
Attempting to prop-up the market is a strong supermarkets sector, led by grocery giant Tesco (TSCO). Its shares rally more than 3.5% to 225.5p, heading the Footsie leader board, as its posts a better-than-feared first quarter trading update. UK like-for-like sales are still in decline but the reported 1.3% reverse comes as a relief after much bigger declines in recent reporting periods. Same-store sales growth in Central Europe and Turkey is also a plus. Amid deflationary pressures, CEO Dave Lewis admits 'the market is still challenging and volatility is likely to remain a feature of short-term performance', yet adds 'these first quarter results represent another step in the right direction.'
Unsurprisingly, sector rivals Morrisons (MRW) and Sainsbury’s (SBRY) are lifted too, 1.2% and 1.7% higher respectively. To read more about Tesco and other FTSE 350 turnarounds, read our recent cover story here.
Among the bigger movers, having spectacularly failed as a mining investor, Red Rock Resources (RRR:AIM) is attempting a comeback in other parts of the natural resources industry. It jumps 16.7% to 0.07p upon entering into an option agreement to invest in West African explorer Elephant Oil.
Unlike Red Rock, fellow commodities investor Metal Tiger (MTR:AIM) has proved it is possible to make money in the resources space. Its share rise 7.7% to 1.05p after swinging to a full-year pre-tax profit.
Hot on the heels of a boardroom coup, nickel and gold miner Mwana Africa (MWA:AIM) slumps 8.2% to 1.63p after its broker and nominated adviser Peel Hunt handed in its notice. It needs to find a new nomad by 25 August otherwise its shares will automatically be delisted under AIM rules.
Wrong place, wrong time for Zanaga Iron Ore (ZIOC:AIM). Numis summarises it well: 'A busy year which pushed the project through reserve definition, feasibility and mining licence just in time to see the iron ore world crash.' The shares dive 9.1% to 2.5p as it reveals a $110 million impairment of the carrying value of its flagship project.
Invoice discounter and technology platform Tungsten (TUNG:AIM) is one of the big gainers on the AIM All-Share, advancing 6.6% to 61p. Frustrated co-founder Edi Truell, still a major shareholder, is said to be looking to take the firm private after a heavy sell-off in the shares when lending targets were missed, according to a report in the Financial Times. Read Shares exclusive recent coverage of this saga here.
Paragon Entertainment (PEL:AIM) jumps up 8.5% to 1.98p as it secures a framework agreement with Majid Al Futtaim Leisure & Entertainment. The deal will see the UK minnow design and build a unique portfolio of leisure attractions, welcome news after recently breaching its own banking covenants.
Elsewhere, newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror (TNI) slumps 3.9% to 153p as it reiterates profit guidance for the current financial year ahead of interims (3 Aug) but only thanks to doubling its cost cutting target for the year to £20 million. You can read analysis in today's Shares website exclusive here.
Full year numbers from UK shale play IGas Energy (IGAS:AIM) are somewhat overshadowed by Lancashire County Council's decision to refuse private operator Cuadrilla permission for a fracking project at the Roseacre Wood site and the stock falls 3.2% to 30.75p. This news was widely expected after planning officers recommended refusal. A decision on a second Cuadrilla project (Preston New Road) has been deferred until Monday - this time officer recommended a green light.
Middle East and North Africa focused E&P Circle Oil (COP:AIM) is up 4.7% to 10.6p on news that gas has flowed at 'significant rates' from the LAM-1 well on its 75%-owned Lalla Mimouna Permit, onshore Morocco.
Stamps, rare coins and antiques dealer Stanley Gibbons (SGI:AIM) nudges 4p higher to 253.5p on well-received full-year results, with strong sales and profits growth boosted by recent acquisitions. There's also a positive outlook statement to keep investors happy.