London shares are dominated by a deluge of corporate news stories on Thursday, with negatives weighing on the stock market. The FTSE 100 index sags around 30 points, or 0.5%, to 6,382, mirroring losses overnight on Wall Street. Us investors are becoming increasing worried over a likely interest rate rise before the year is out, nervousness that is also reflected in the UK.
In corporate news, tour operator Thomas Cook (TCG) tumbles 5.4% to 114.5p as the UK cancels flights to and out of the Egyptian resort of Sharm el Sheikh following suggestions the Russian aircraft crash in Egypt on Saturday could have been caused by a bomb. Rival tour operator TUI (TUI) is down 1.7% to £11.40.
Hard-pressed grocer Morrisons (MRW) is marked down 3.5% to 171.3p on a mellow third quarter update, revealing a worse-than-forecast 2.6% fall in like-for-like sales amid ongoing price cuts and lower vouchering. On the positive side, CEO David Potts flags debt reduction ahead of plan, though his insistence 'we are making good progress in many areas and customers are noticing improvements' fails to convince on Thursday.
AstraZeneca’s (AZN) third quarter revenues have been hit by foreign exchange woes, but the company has upgraded its revenue outlook for the year. The FTSE 100 pharmaceutical company posted its third quarter results to 30 September on Thursday.
The oil and gas sector is feeling renewed pain this morning as building inventories in the US prompt an overnight plunge in oil prices. BP (BP.) is down 3.1% to 390p, Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) slips 2.3% to £17.27 and oil services firm Petrofac (PFC) falls 7.3% to 809p.
The biggest victim though is Petrofac's peer Amec Foster Wheeler (AMFW) which slumps 25% to 557p as it picks an inopportune moment to warn on margins, offer a gloomy 2016 outlook and cut its dividend in half. For more on the story click here.
FTSE 100 gold miner Randgold Resources (RRS) falls 3.2% to £41.73 on a disappointing third quarter update. Production and costs were worse than analysts had expected, as a result of heavy rains causing operating problems and restricting access to high grade ore.
New joint venture terms with Chinese partners including cash for working capital and drilling trigger a 66.7% rise in Altona Energy (ANR:AIM) to 0.5p. The small cap has been struggling for years to develop a coal-to-energy project in Australia.
Fashion retailer SuperGroup (SGP) struts 4.2% higher to £15.44 on a positive first-half trading update, confirming strong retail like-for-like sales momentum through the second quarter. The Superdry brand owner reports 17.2% growth in retail like-for-like sales for the half and says gross margins are tracking ahead of full-year expectations.
Carpentry specialist Howden Joinery (HWDN) climbs 6.8% to 490.1p after a trading update from the £3.2 billion cap confirms that it remains well positioned to achieve its expectations for the full year as it reported a good sales performance so far in the second half.
Sweeteners provider Tate & Lyle (TATE) ticks up 3.4% to 617.5p on reassuring half-time figures, with adjusted pre-tax profit up 28% to £103 million. CEO Javed Ahmed reports an encouraging start to the year driven by the speciality food ingredients business and reiterates guidance for flat full-year profits of £193 million.