Markets: FTSE 100 claws back losses on Friday

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Interactive Investor's Market Report brings you bite-sized news covering all the day's FTSE and AIM announcements, the latest on commodities, global and domestic economics, gold, oil and currencies as well as US markets. Updated throughout the day, it's the digest you can't afford to miss.

Last updated: 17:00

UK markets: Friday's close

The FTSE 100 (UKX) made a sharp late rally to return to where it started the day.

London's top index remained unchanged at 5776.60 after having spent most of Friday in the doldrums. Marks and Spencer (MKS) shares spiked 4% as the session drew to a close following rumours of a takeover of the retailer by a private equity firm. Ashmore Group (ASHM) fell a similar amount.
Hardide (HDD) was the biggest climber on AIM, as it added 36%, while Xtract Energy (XTR) fell by the same amount.
Borders and Southern Petroleum (BOR) was by far the most popular stock on Interactive Investor, even as the stock fell 3%.
David Jones, chief market strategist at IG Index, commented: "In a sign that we are coming to the end of the summer lull... markets are starting to return to more normal trading.
"Earlier this week it was felt that Germany may have begun to relax a little regarding Greece needing more time to meet the terms of its bail-out. However, it now looks like German leaders are starting to revert to their previous tough stance and urging Greece to meet its commitments."
Looking to next week, he added: "Rumour and incident regarding the eurozone debt situation are firmly back on the radar now, setting up what should be a more volatile week ahead ­ certainly more so than the weeks we've recently seen."

At a glance...

Currencies Commodities
GBP/USD: 1.5828 Gold: $1,668.61
GBP/EUR: 1.2615 WTI crude oil: $96.96
EUR/USD: 1.2547 All changes from 09:00 BST.






US markets: 16:45 update

Wall Street moved into the black as trading progressed on Friday, with the Dow industrials and the S&P 500 scaling back on their first weekly drop in seven after Reuters reported the European Central Bank was considering yield targets in a bond-buying programme.

The Dow Jones climbed 74 points to 13131, while the S&P 500 pushed seven points higher to 1409 and the Nasdaq added 15 points to 3068.

Economic data revealed that orders for US durable goods rose 4.2% in July on increased demand for aeroplanes and automobiles, but bookings softened in other sectors.

New finance director for NWF

NWF Group (NWF) has announced the forthcoming appointment of Brendon James Banner as finance director from early November.

He joins NWF from William Hare Group, a structural steel-engineering and fabrication group with most recent annual sales of £182 million, where he was employed in the position of finance director.

Hellenic sells ship

Hellenic Carriers' () wholly-owned subsidiary, Patmos Shipping, has completed the sale of the M/V Hellenic Sea, a 1991-built 65,434 dead-weight tonnage Panamax dry bulk carrier.

Hellenic Sea was sold to nominees of Dianik Bross Shipping, an unaffiliated third party, for a total cash consideration of $5.3 million (£3.3 million). The vessel was delivered to her new owners on 23 August.

The ship was initially acquired in March 2002 at a price of $9.6 million. During the past 10 years of her operation, it contributed approximately $40.6 million to the company's net profit.

Avacta grows Optim sales

Sales of healthcare technology firm Avacta Group's (AVCT) flagship instrument Optim increased by 50% in the last year.

The firm said the early-stage indicators of Optim consumables revenue are encouraging, and growth is expected to continue as the installed Optim end-user base increases.

"In the first full year of working, the group has invested significant efforts into training and support of its partners and has addressed logistical challenges that have arisen," it said.

UK markets: 15:00 update

Miners continued to weigh on the FTSE 100 (UKX) as it spiralled lower on Friday, with investor sentiment dampened ahead of the long weekend.

London's leading index shed 20 points to 5755 with Smith and Nephew (SN.) leading the blue chip gainers, while Ashmore (ASH) sank 5%.

Hardide (HDD) jumped almost 38% on AIM, while Xtract Energy (XTA) slumped by more than a third.

At a glance...

Currencies Commodities
GBP/USD: 1.5821 Gold: $1,666.68
GBP/EUR: 1.2661 WTI crude oil: $96.24
EUR/USD: 1.2501 All changes from 09:00 BST.






US markets: Friday's open

US markets opened lower on Friday after German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered little indication as to whether Germany was willing to give Greece more time to implement austerity measures.

The fall came despite the Commerce Department reporting orders for durable goods jumped 4.2% in July.

The Dow Jones dipped 11 points to 13047, while the Nasdaq slipped nine points to 3044. The S&P 500 declined three points to 1399.

Hardide to beat expectations

Shares in Hardide (HDD) climbed 37% after the company said on Friday that some of the momentum generated in the first half of the year has continued in the second half, though not at the same level.

As such the firm said that revenue for the year will be at least 45% higher than the previous year and the group will exceed market expectations for the year ending 30 September.

Hardide added that it continues to add new customers and develop new applications for existing customers. Investment in business and market development continues and the group's pipeline across the key markets of oil and gas, flow control, aerospace and advanced engineering continues to progress.

Visa subscribes in Monitise

Mobile banking company Monitise (MONI) has entered into a subscription agreement with Visa Europe and separately, a subscription agreement with Visa International Service Association, subsidiaries of Visa (V).

Under the subscriptions, Visa Europe has agreed to subscribe for 45.3 million shares in Monitise and Visa International for 7.6 million shares, in each case at a price of 28.25p per share.

Following the subscriptions, it is intended that up to 28.1 million shares will be issued to certain institutional investors by way of a placing at a price of 28.25p per share.

Shares in Monitise climbed 5% on the news.

Socialgo warns on revenues

Socialgo () warned that revenue for the six months to 30 June was expected to be "materially below" that reported for the same period in 2012, but added that the expected loss from operations will also be lower as a result of cost reductions implemented during the period.

It also took the opportunity to announce a distribution agreement it had entered into with Catalis, which will see Catalis acting as an agent for Socialgo, providing marketing, promotion and sales support, as well as financial and creative services.

Under the terms of the agreement, Catalis will pay Socialgo a fee of £50,000 per month, sufficient to cover the current cost base of Socialgo. Catalis will receive the first £50,000 of revenue per month from the Socialgo platform, including existing revenues. Once total revenue for Socialgo products exceeds the fee, additional gross revenues will be split 60:40 in favour of Catalis.

Finally, Dominic Wheatley will move from executive to non-executive chairman of Socialgo. This follows his recent appointment as chief executive of Catalis.

Acta announces board changes

Acta () has appointed Rodney Westhead as a non-executive director of the company and member of the audit committee.

Westhead replaces Fabio Mastrangelo, who has resigned due to "the demands of his other professional commitments".

Mastrangelo's previous role as chairman of the audit committee will now be fulfilled by current non-executive director Aldo Filippini.

Apple and Samsung products banned

South Korea has banned the sale of certain Apple (AAPL) and Samsung products after a court ruled that both firms had breached patents.
It ruled that Apple infringed two patents that belonged to Samsung, while the Korean firm disregarded one of Apples.
Apple's iPhone 4 and iPad 2, and Samsung's Galaxy SII and its Galaxy Tab 10.1 are among the products banned.

Lamprell completes jack-up rig

Lamprell (LAM) has completed the construction of the Makasib jack-up rig and delivered it to Abu Dhabi's National Drilling Company (NDC).

The Makasib, the first of a total of six rigs being built for NDC by Lamprell, has a contract value of $168 million (£106 million) at completion. The contract was announced in July 2010. NDC is currently Lamprell's biggest customer in the new-build jack-up segment.

"We are pleased to be delivering this rig on schedule and within budget to such an important and valued customer and to demonstrate our project execution capability," commented chief executive Nigel McCue.

Faroe Petroleum's Cooper well disappoints

While Amerisur Resources' (AMER) Platanillo-4 well in Colombia had the success of an oil flow, Faroe Petroleum's (FPM) Cooper well in the Norwegian Sea had no such luck.

Read: Friday's oil and gas news, to see what they, and three other oil and gas companies, had to tell investors.

Greek Premier to meet Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Friday to discuss an extension to the southern European nation's timescale for spending cuts.
On Saturday Samaras will also hold talks with French President Francois Hollande.
Greece is currently trying to finalise a package of €11.5 billion (£9.1 billion) of spending cuts over the next two years.

UK markets: Midday update

After briefly holding its head above water following a positive revision to UK's second-quarter GDP estimate, the FTSE 100 (UKX) once again embarked on its downward spiral, dragged under by the mining sector.

London's leading share index slipped just over 10 points to 5765.

While Ashmore Group (ASHM) was the biggest faller among the blue chips, down more than 5%, the miners dominated those trading in red. Eurasian Natural Resources () and Rio Tinto (RIO) slid more than 3%, while Anglo American (AAL), Kazakhmys (KAZ) and Antofagasta (ANTO) declined more than 2%.

On AIM, shares in The Weather Lottery () plunged 40%. Hardide (HDD) soared almost 38%.

Borders and Southern Petroleum (BOR) was the most actively-traded stock by the users of Interactive Investor.

"Adding to the cautious tone are the ongoing meetings in Europe over the debt crisis, and with this and the bank holiday on Monday it seems unlikely that traders are going to be too willing to take on much additional risk as we head into the weekend," commented Rupert Osborne, futures dealer at IG Index.

Looking ahead to the US open, Osborne was expecting the Dow to start mildly higher by around 10 points at 13067.

At a glance...

Currencies Commodities
GBP/USD: 1.5841 Gold: $1,665.88
GBP/EUR: 1.2653 WTI crude oil: $96.01
EUR/USD: 1.2522 All changes from 09:00 BST.






Waterlogic acquires Taylor Made Water Systems

Waterlogic (), the designer, manufacturer and distributor of point-of-use drinking water purification and dispensing systems, is to acquire the entire share capital of Taylor Made Water Systems, a vendor of water dispensers and coffee machines based in northern California, USA.

"Taylor Made is our first US west-coast acquisition and is an important step to enhance our North American presence, providing a solid platform for continued accretive growth in the region," commented chief executive Jeremy Ben-David.

"We are especially excited about the opportunity to introduce Waterlogic's highly innovative Firewall UV water purification technology and associated products into the Taylor Made customer base. Taylor Made is a highly complementary business, with a strong management team and we look forward to welcoming them into the Waterlogic Group."

Black Mountain reveals positive drill results

Black Mountain Resources () shares climbed after it unveiled drill results from its Conjecture project in Idaho, while Sirius Minerals (SXX) was boosted by its latest potash shows.

Find out more in: Friday's mining news.

Lonmin woes continue

As it was revealed that it would be "some months" before Lonmin (LMI) chief executive Ian Farmer returned to work full-time, analysts hinted that a possible rights issue in the miner could result in its biggest shareholder, Xstrata (XTA), using it as an opportunity to significantly build its stake in the company.

For the full story, read: Analysts: Xstrata could increase Lonmin stake.

UK recession shallower than feared

The UK economy shrank by less than previously thought between April and June, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The 0.7% drop was revised to a 0.5% fall, due to upward revisions to construction and industrial output. This upward revision was widely expected by economists.

"The revision is very small in the big picture and means that output is still more than 4% below its pre-recession peak," observed Vicky Redwood, chief UK economist at Capital Economics. "Of course, the GDP figures may in the future be revised up further. Nonetheless, given the drags from the fiscal squeeze, eurozone crisis and high domestic debt levels, we still doubt that a strong recovery lies ahead."

Berendsen defies falling revenue

Berendsen's (BRSN) revenues might have fallen, but it managed to boost its profitability in the first half of the year.
Adjusted pre-tax profit climbed 6% to £52 million, despite a 2% fall in revenues to £488 million, leading to the board increasing the interim dividend by 8%.
The company said that it expects the trend to continue into the second half year, to hit full-year expectations.
Analysts at Panmure Gordon commented: "First-half results are 4% ahead of consensus at the adjusted [pre-tax profit] level, as good progress continues to be made in achieving the strategic objectives. The outlook for the rest of the year appears to be stable, with no changes to forecasts anticipated on the back of this update."

Max unveils annual report

Max Petroleum () assured investors that it was "engaged with initiatives to raise additional capital" as it closed the doors on a year of "achievement mixed with disappointment".

Executive co-chairmen Robert B Holland and James A Jeffs added: "Our top priorities are to raise the funds necessary to complete our shallow exploration programme prior to March 2013 and to refinance, in whole or in part, our senior debt, while we continue to seek funding and an extension necessary to finish drilling NUR-1 to its target depth of 7,250 metres."

For the full story, read: Max Petroleum slips after disappointing year.

Stobart stalls

Logistics firm Stobart Group (STOB) said on Friday that it was confident it would be able to weather the inclement economic winds and drive on to achieve its strategic plan, despite short-term issues.
The ongoing recessionary climate has affected the transport sector, the firm said, meaning short-term performance would be lower than market expectations.
The restructuring of the chilled transport business, alongside bad summer weather, was reflected in retail sales, resulting in some losses for the chilled fleet.
Analysts at Investec commented: "Stobart's trading statement comments today were unexpected and we are making some hefty forecast downgrades.
"Whilst the shares are likely to be marked down sharply today, investors should remember that the longer-term strategic plan is to create and realise significant value in key businesses."
Shares were trading down 3.5% on Friday.

Logica delists

Following its takeover by CGI Group Holdings, Logica (LOG) has cancelled its shares and delisted from the London Stock Exchange.
The £1.7 billion acquisition was completed recently when shareholders voted in favour of the deal.

UK markets: 09:00 update

The FTSE 100 (UKX) looked to be heading for a weekly loss as it opened lower on Friday. Heading the way of Asian markets, The index was on shaky ground after fiscal stimulus hopes were dampened and Greek and Spanish worries once again emerged.

The UK's premier index was down 15 points to 5761. Diageo (DGE) lifted itself 0.9% after posting a jump in profits yesterday, while Rio Tinto (RIO) sank 3.8% despite positive noises from the firm's copper division.

Over on AIM, Hardide (HDD) was firmly on the ascent as it added 33% to its share price. Socialgo () was less fortunate, losing 29%.

Borders and Southern Petroleum (BOR) continued its strong trading run on Interactive Investor, with most users looking to snap up the stock as it climbed 13%.

Rebecca O'Keeffe, head of investment at Interactive Investor, commented: "Investors, who had been cruising through the summer on a wave of optimism, appear to be finally waking up to reality.

"The continued lack of agreement and follow-through on Europe; deteriorating conditions in Spain - which might lead to a full bail-out; and concerns on the state of Chinese growth and the lack of stimulus measures are all negative factors for investors."

US markets: Thursday's close

There were substantial losses on Wall Street on Thursday as hopes of the implementation of a swift stimulus package were all but dashed against the rocks.

Minutes showing the Federal Reserve was considering further quantitative easing had cheered investors, but St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard, a non-voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee, said economic data has been somewhat better since the meeting and the minutes were "a bit stale".

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) led the race to the bottom for technology stocks as the company's shares fell more than 8% after negative comments on the PC market from its chief executive.

At a glance...

Asian marketsCurrenciesCommodities
Nikkei 225: 9070 ( 107)GBP/USD: 1.5844Gold: $1,665.26
Hang Seng: 19892 ( 239)GBP/EUR: 1.2639WTI crude oil: $95.66
Shanghai Composite: 2092 ( 20)EUR/USD: 1.2537 






08:00 - The FTSE 100 (UKX) opens at 5776.60