London stocks nudge lower in early trade on Thursday as resources group are hit by profiteers and crude oil prices weaken again. Safe-haven gold is ahead. Wall Street closed up overnight while Asian markets are mixed and European Bourses also decline.
The FTSE 100 index slides around 32 points, or 6,170.
UK economic growth in the fourth quarter was unexpectedly revised higher by the Office for National Statistics on Thursday. The final estimate of gross domestic product in the last three months of 2015 was an increase of 0.6% quarter-on-quarter, compared to the previous forecast of 0.5% and the third quarter's 0.4%.
Online domestic appliances retailer AO World (AO.) is bid up 9.6% to 189.4p as it raises full-year forecasts with a positive pre-close trading statement. Bolton-based AO flags a better-than-expected fourth quarter sales and earnings performance in the UK and pleases with news European earnings for the year to March 'will be slightly better than expected' thanks to a focus on driving efficiencies.
Among the bigger movers, Falklands explorer Borders & Southern (BOR:AIM) falls 10% to 1.53p despite reporting a narrowed pre-tax loss of $2.6 million - down by a third year-on-year. House broker Panmure Gordon cuts its price target from 7p to 5p and notes the difficulty in securing a partner to help fund further drilling on its Darwin discovery.
Metal Tiger (MTR:AIM) continues to rally on the back of work by one of its joint venture partners. The shares jump a further 9.9% to 3.9p as investors get excited about MOD Resources’ copper drilling in Botswana. It is working ground previously owned by former AIM-quoted Discovery Metals.
Quantum dots developer Nanoco (NANO:AIM) slumps 16% to 38p as it switches its distribution contract with global chemicals group Dow Chemical (DOW:NYSE) to a non-exclusive arrangement. The company argues that this fres it to pursue alternative and speedier routes to the TVs and mobile device displays market but investors clearly see this as a weakening of Dow's commitment to the long-term project.
Irish gambling technology provider Gameaccount Network (GAME:AIM) jumps 10.6% to 26p after launching a virtual reality casino system for US client Empire City Casino.
Plans for a share placing and widening pre-tax losses sends diagnostic-maker Epistem (EHP:AIM) 10.5% lower to 85p. In the six months to 31 December losses increased to £3.3 million from £1.9 million a year earlier on higher development spend, while discussions to tap the market for cash continue.
European non-life insurer Gable (GAH:AIM) falls 6% to 11.7p on making a pre-tax loss of up to £8 million in 2015. The niche insurer will take a hit of up to £3 million on Europe’s floods over Christmas.
Life insurer Chesnara (CSN) rises 2.5% to 314.6p on pre-tax profits growing by 48.6% to £42.8 million in 2015. It also has enough capital with a Solvency II ratio that is 46% ahead of the minimum level.
Animal medicine-maker Eco Animal Health (EAH:AIM) advances 4.8% to 325p on regulator the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) clearing it to sell a respiratory and gut disease treatment for pigs and poultry in the US.
Specialist meat-packing play Hilton Food (HFG), whose customers include groceries goliath Tesco (TSCO), fattens up 2.7% to 509.5p as forecast-busting finals trigger upgrades. These show 11% growth in taxable profits to £28 million and a 9.8% dividend hike to 14.6p. CEO Robert Watson reports prodigious cash generation and is confident in the growth prospects of Hilton, which sports an ungeared balance sheet to support further geographical expansion.
Leading food wholesaler Booker (BOK) loses 1.2p at 167.6p on news of a 2.5% fourth quarter like-for-like sales decline, revenues crimped by food price deflation, weak consumer demand and a ban on small stores displaying tobacco products.