Yesterday's modest gains are wiped out as investors cool on equity markets on a quiet end to the week. The FTSE 100 eases off by 17 points in early tradingto 6,623, the blue-chip index's lowest level since early August. Mike Ashley's pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap sports and fashion retailer Sports Direct (SPD) heads the Footsie faller board just a day after backing a Tesco (TSCO) turnaround, the shares off nearly 2.5% at 622p.
The market shrugs-off Lloyds Banking’s (LLOY) sale of 57.5 million slug of shares in demerged retail bank TSB (TSB) 280p per share. High street lender Lloyds remains largely flat at 76.6p despite scooping a £161 million windfall from the 11.5% share sale, cutting its stake in TSB to 50%. TSB investors are equally non-plussed, the also flat at 279.4p.
The biggest market story of the day is undoubtedly today's profits warning by bank notes producer De La Rue (DLAR). Weak bank note printing pricing means full-year pre-tax profit is likely to be £20 million lower than the last year's underlying £77.3 million, forcing the group to slash the dividend by 40%. That sends the shares tumbling into the red, crashing more than 28% to 543.5p. De La Rue reports half-year results on 25 November.
Lower volumes and rising competition in the Benelux recycling market, notably in the Netherlands, hurts Shanks’ (SKS) operations in the region. The group cuts pre-tax profit expectations by 15% in response, sparking a 16% share price collapse to 86.5p.
Junior miner Kalimantan Gold (KLG:AIM) shoots up 86.2% to 1.35p on a maiden resource statement for its Beruang Kanan copper project in Indonesia. VSA Capital reckons 'there is tremendous upside' on the deposit and has a 4.8p price target.
A heavily discounted share placing sees oil shale technology play TomCo Energy (TOM:AIM) collapse 27% to 0.6p. The company is raising £1 million at 0.5p to fund the permitting process on its Holliday block in Utah and to bolster its working capital, a 39% discount to last night's 0.82p close.
An unseasonably mild winter and a ‘disappointingly cool’ August were both blamed for weak demand at rental company Andrew Sykes’ (ASY:AIM) heating and air conditioning units. Half year results for the six months to 30 June showed revenue down 10% and earnings per share down 38% to 7.6p. The stock plummets 84p to 294p, a fall of 22%.
Fruit importer Fyffes (FFY:AIM) dips 1.8% to 81.5p on news of a revised merger agreement with Chiquita Brands' (CQB:NYSE). The new deal will hand the US-listed company a 59.6% stake in the planned all-share merger, to be called ChiquitaFyffes. This is an increase from 50.7% under an earlier deal to create the world's biggest banana company. Brazilian rivals Cutrale and Safra are attempting to muscle in on the deal.
Diagnostic-focused research company Proteome Sciences (PRM:AIM) advances 4.1% to 40.6p on positive safety data on two of its compounds. The tests are the latest stage in its fight against Alzheimer’s.
William Cain, the author of the paragraph on De La Rue, owns shares in the company.