London stocks are trading flat in early trade on Friday following fairly uninspiring sessions in the US and Asia and with remarks from central bankers filling some of the vacuum. The FTSE 100 barely moves, stuck at 6,330, while FTSE 250 midcaps and smaller companies are also similarly unmoved.
In an otherwise quiet day for corporate news, Imperial Tobacco (IMT) gains 2.4% to £35.77, and is the FTSE 100's biggest gainer, on renewed talk of a takeover tie-up with listed peer British American Tobacco (BATS), up 0.6% to £38.82. Japan Tobacco is also named as a potential suitor in the Financial Times report.
Elsewhere, Alaska focused oil firm 88 Energy (88E:AIM) - formerly Tangiers Petroleum - gains 6.9% to 0.57p as it raises $3 million though an oversubscribed share placing and says it will open a share purchase plan to eligible existing shareholders with a view to raising a further $2 million. The funds will be used to acquire more acreage.
An upbeat outlook for 2016 sends dementia testing software-maker Cambridge Cognition (COG:AIM) 7.8% higher to 89p. In 2015 the company has won three clinical trial contracts from large pharmaceuticals worth $4.5 million.
Functional food ingredient and supplement developer OptiBiotix Health (OPTI:AIM) improves 4.5% to 81p on signing a development agreement with Italian outfit Centro Sperimentale Del Latte to synthesise and purify carbohydrates that consists of a small number of sugars from microbial strains. The financial terms have not been disclosed.
Chaired by ex-cricketer Phil Edmonds, African agricultural minnow Agriterra (AGTA:AIM) cheapens 5.9% to 0.56p on a widening of full-year losses, reflecting the impact of the Ebola outbreak on its cocoa operations in Sierra Leone as well as political instability and heavy rain on its Mozambique maize division.
Gaming software group GameAccount Network (GAME:AIM) edges 1.4% higher to 36.5p on news its simulated gaming platform has been launched by casino operator the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. GameAccount says it's the first major land-based casino client secured for the platform, which offers gaming-as-entertainment with monetisation features.
Pub group Fuller, Smith & Turner (FSTA) gains 0.6% to £11.50 on a 10% rise in pre-tax profit to £21.6 million in the six months to 26 September. Like-for-like sales in its managed pubs and hotels are up by 5.6% despite strong comparatives from last year. The group says the Rugby World Cup has resulted in a strong start to the second half.
Disclosure – the author of the section on tobacco companies owns shares in British American Tobacco.