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Markets: FTSE 100 closes in the red on Monday

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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: 17:10

UK markets: Monday's close

The FTSE 100 (UKX) managed to narrow its losses, but still closed in the red at 5912.15, 9.61 points lower.

The slide was dominated by Aggreko (AGK), which lost more than a fifth of its market cap, as it announced that it was going to miss year-end target by as much as £100 million. Shares in Vodafone (VOD) also took a tumble, down c2%, as the market observed that the auction in Holland for the rights to 4G had closed out at a considerable premium.

On the upside, International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) added more than 3%.

On the AIM front, shares in Athol Gold (AHG) soared 18%. Speymill () fell 17%.

Centamin (CEY), which climbed almost 22%, was the most actively traded stock by the users of Interactive Investor.

"The markets have passed the day absorbing the news that a conservative Japanese government has come to power, having been elected on its strong quantitative easing policies," commented

Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG. "It appears that 2013 could well be another year where printing presses are in full flow, as currencies continue their love affair with devaluation."

At a glance...

Currencies Commodities
GBP/USD: 1.6200
Gold: $1,696.73
GBP/EUR: 1.2302 WTI crude oil: $86.81
EUR/USD: 1.3170 All changes from 09:00 GMT.






US markets: 16:45 update

US stocks rose on Monday, with financials prospering on hopes of a deal between the Republicans and Democrats over the impending fiscal cliff.

Technology stocks also made a good showing of it, but Apple (AAPL) couldn't turn around its recent bad fortune as shares in the firm fell.

The Nasdaq moved up 27 points to 2998, while the S&P 500 gained 13 points to 1426. The Dow Jones climbed 85 points to 13220.

Rotala secures funding for depot acquisition

Rotala (ROL) has entered into a revised suite of banking facilities with its principal bankers. The new facilities, totalling £11 million, have replaced the bus, coach and transport-management company's existing arrangements with that bank of approximately £5.2 million.

Approximately £1.8 million of the facility will immediately be used to finance the acquisition of the freehold interest in a depot presently leased by the group in the Bristol area. This depot will be bought from Silverton Investments for £1.8 million.

The company said in a short statement: "These enhanced facilities will support Rotala's aim of continuing to grow both organically and by acquisition."

Oxford Instruments acquires nano-imaging firm

Oxford Instruments (OXIG) has acquired Asylum Research Corporation, a provider of scanning probe microscopes. The acquisition is subject to customary conditions and is expected to be completed before the end of December.

Asylum is being acquired from its management for an initial debt-free, cash-free consideration of $32 million (£19.9 million), with a deferred element of up to $48 million payable over three years dependent on its performance over that period. Asylum generated earnings before interest and tax of $1.1 million in the 12 months to 31 December 2011 from revenue of $19.6 million. It had gross assets of $6.2 million on 31 December 2011.

Asylum is an established US company based in Santa Barbara, California, with subsidiaries in the UK, Germany and Taiwan. Its technology is used to image and characterise the properties of surfaces and structures down to the atomic scale providing information to enable development and exploitation at the nanoscale.

Sirius Real Estate slashes losses

Sirius Real Estate (SRE) brought its pre-tax losses under control in the six months to 30 September as it increased its rental income.

The company made a pre-tax loss of £5.5 million, compared with £23 million a year before, on the back of net rental income of £15 million, up from £12.2 million.

The German business park operator valued its portfolio at €474 million (£385 million) down from €485.7 million. The company said the €11.7 million reduction in value is mainly attributable to asset disposals or write-downs on properties that are non core and identified for disposal.

Chairman Robert Sinclair commented: "This has been an important trading period for the company, where we have seen the benefits of the improved cost recovery and reduction programmes, higher rental rates from existing and new tenants as well as the financial benefits of the recent management internalisation."

UK markets: 15:00 update

The FTSE 100 (UKX) was unmoved from its despondency on Monday afternoon despite US markets opening higher on renewed hopes for budget talks.

The blue-chip index lost 25 points, falling to 5896 as the positives were cancelled out by poor corporate news.

Dragging everyone else back was Aggreko (AGK), which lost 20% as it reported that it would fall short of its 2013 targets. International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) was flying high however, as it climbed nearly 3%.

Over on AIM, Akers Biosciences (AKR) was well ahead, with a 27% gain, whereas Scotty Group (SCO) fell 19%.

Centamin (CEY) was both the most bought and sold stock on Interactive Investor as the company announced it would restart gold exports from Egypt.

At a glance...

Currencies Commodities
GBP/USD: 1.6204
Gold: $1,696.15
GBP/EUR: 1.2314 WTI crude oil: $87.08
EUR/USD: 1.3170  All changes from 09:00 GMT.






US markets: Monday's open

Markets across the Atlantic opened higher on Monday, buoyed by optimism that budget negotiations in Washington were making progress and would result in a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.

Stock indices held gains even after data showed that the Empire State manufacturing index remained in negative territory for the fifth month in a row.

The Dow Jones added 41 points to 13176. The Nasdaq jumped 15 points to 2987, while the S&P 500 followed suit with a six-point rise to 1420.

Networkers International issues litigation update

Networkers International () has decided to make a further exceptional provision of £1 million in its full-year accounts for the year ending 31 December, in addition to the £600,000 already provided, in relation to complaints filed by three individuals for unspecified damages against a separate limited liability company operating overseas, managed by Networkers International.

During 2006, the individuals alleged they were improperly classified as independent contractors rather than employees and were therefore due additional payments for violations of wage and hour laws including those governing overtime pay, rest breaks, and meal breaks, principally during 2005 and 2006.

The recruitment company will release a pre-close trading update for the year ending 31 December 2012 during the week commencing 14 January 2013.

AFC Energy reveals EU funding and acquisition

AFC Energy (AFC) has been awarded a European Union grant of up to €1.96 million (£1.59 million) for the launch of its Alkammonia project to develop ammonia fed alkaline fuel cell systems.

In addition to the EU grant, the industrial fuel cell power company announced the acquisition of equipment and intellectual property of Diverse Energy.

"This deal, combined with the EU grant for our Alkammonia project, will help AFC Energy exploit an exciting market opportunity faster than would previously have been possible," commented chief executive Ian Williamson. "These developments will extend our technology portfolio, expand our product offering and help to broaden our addressable market."

Hunting slips on cautious outlook

Shares in Hunting (HTG) slipped 6% after it stated that its short-term outlook was "increasingly cautious".

The statement came despite the company saying it was on track to meet 2012 expectations. Indeed, the trading statement contained positive comments on demand for premium connections, Innova and Dearborn, while Titan had seen some improvement, as had Hunting Stafford in well intervention.

"While our central thesis is for a recovery in rig activity in [the first half in 2013] in North America with increased upstream budgets, we reflect the more cautionary tone of the statement in our forecasts," said Keith Morris, analyst at Investec, decreasing its EBITDA from £183 million to £168 million.

British Land joint venture agrees heads of terms with Amlin

The joint venture between British Land (BLND) and Oxford Properties has agreed a non-binding heads of terms with the Amlin (AML) for a 111,000 square foot pre-let at the Leadenhall Building in London.

Amlin has agreed to take levels 18-24 and level 45, with options to take up to a further 36,500 square feet. On completion of the letting to Amlin, the Leadenhall Building will be 51% pre-let. Amlin will relocate from its current offices in the Aviva Tower in March 2015.

John Lewis reports record sales

John Lewis sales increased by 4.1% week-on-week and 11.1% year-on-year to a record weekly £147.8 million in the week to 15 December.

However, this growth rate was down appreciably from 14.3% week-on-week and 15.0% year-on-year in the week to 8 December.

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, warned that a serious battle of wills may well be taking place between consumers and retailers: "Many consumers may be holding off from doing their Christmas shopping until virtually the last moment in the hope that worried retailers will offer more and more discounts and promotions.

"However, many retailers may be holding firm on prices in the belief that consumers will increasingly buckle and buy as Christmas gets nearer and nearer."

Magnolia Petroleum issues Oklahoma drilling update

Magnolia Petroleum (MAGP) on Monday confirmed that hydrocarbons had been encountered in the Roger Swartz #1 vertical well in the Mississippi Lime formation, Oklahoma.

Elsewhere in the oil and gas sector, Xtract Energy (XTR) announced the disposal of its Australian and Moroccan shale assets.

Read: Monday's oil and gas news: Magnolia strikes oil in Oklahoma, for our sector round-up.

UK markets: Midday update

The dreaded fiscal cliff outweighed the news that Shinzo Abe won the latest Japanese elections, with the FTSE 100 (UKX) declining 33 points to 5888.

Aggreko (AGK) pushed the blue chips lower, falling more than 17% after the temporary power provider cut its forecast for 2013. Miner Kazakhmys (KAZ) added almost 2%.

On AIM, Speymill () lost a third of its market capitalisation. Shares in Akers Biosciences (AKR) soared more than 29%.

Looking ahead, David Madden, market analyst at IG, was predicting the Dow Jones to open up 15 points at 13150.

"It's the same old thing in Washington - the Democrats want higher taxes for the top earners and the Republicans won't budge an inch. Neither party wants to be the one that pushes the economy off the cliff, but equally neither wants to back down," he said, adding: "I think both sides will continue to play chicken as long as they can, but in the end someone will buckle.

"While President Obama and John Boehner continue the negotiations, stocks bounce along - but don't expect any great shakes."

At a glance...

Currencies Commodities
GBP/USD: 1.6203
Gold: $1,692.22
GBP/EUR: 1.2312 WTI crude oil: $86.81
EUR/USD: 1.3156 All changes from 09:00 GMT.






Anglo Asian signs Glencore sales agreement

Anglo Asian Mining (AAZ) was buoyed by a new copper sales contract with Glencore International (GLEN), while Aurum Mining (AUR) and Ormonde Mining (ORM) reported encouraging results from a trenching programme at their joint venture in Spain.

For our round-up, read: Monday's mining news: Anglo Asian signs Glencore contract.

Aggreko slumps on revenue warning

Aggreko (AGK) was the biggest faller on the FTSE 100 in early trading, losing 16%, after the company warned its 2013 forecasts had been too optimistic.

The temporary power firm said that with military orders falling, Japanese renewals not expected and the effect of the Olympics in 2012, it is likely to report lower revenue next year.

Read: Bleak forecast hits Aggreko shares, for the full story.

Max announces latest well

Max Petroleum () has spudded the ESKN-1 exploration well on the Eskene North prospect in Kazakhstan.

The prospect, a four-way anticline, is targeting unrisked mean resources of nine million barrels of oil in Triassic reservoirs.

For more, read: Max spuds new Kazakh well.

Imagination Technologies ups MIPS offer

Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) has signed a revised agreement to acquire the operating business, patent properties and licence rights of MIPS Technologies (MIPS) for $100 million (£62 million) in cash.

The acquisition will be financed from existing cash resources and a new acquisition facility that has already been set up. MIPS is a leading provider of central processing unit architectures and cores.

The revised offer, up from $80 million, was made in response to an increased offer made to MIPS by American firm CEVA (CEVA) to acquire the same assets.

All other material terms and conditions of the acquisition remained as stated in Imagination's announcement on 6 November.

In the 12 months to 30 June the MIPS processor-licensing business generated $60 million in revenue and a pre-tax loss of $9 million. MIPS's licensing business had gross assets of $20 million on 30 September.

Centamin soars on Egyptian restart

Centamin (CEY) shares rebounded strongly on Monday morning as the miner announced the resumption of gold exports from Egypt.

The company said the halt by customs authorities on gold exports from the Sukari mine in the Middle-Eastern country had been lifted and the first shipment made on Sunday.

For the full story, read: Centamin bounces back as gold exports resume.

Rolls-Royce wins Finnish navy contract

Rolls-Royce (RR.) has won a contract to supply water jets to power Marine Alutech's new Watercat M18 AMC high-speed troop transport craft, which are currently under construction for the Finnish Navy.
The boats, classified as U700s, are designed and built by the Alutech shipyard in Teijo, Finland, which specialises in patrol and military vessels.
The contract for 12 craft will involve the supply of Rolls-Royce 40A3 water jets and a control system that will enhance the manoeuvring capabilities of the vessels.
Rolls-Royce naval president Andrew Marsh said: "This latest contract reaffirms our leading position in the supply of water-jet technology for a variety of naval craft, where speed, manoeuvrability and the capability to operate in shallow waters are crucial customer requirements."

UK markets: 09:00 update

The FTSE 100 (UKX) trod a downward course early on Monday as corporate news disappointed and trepidation abounded concerning the ongoing US fiscal cliff discussions.

The index of leading shares fell 15 points to 5906.

Miners were once again the flavour of the day with Kazakhmys (KAZ) leading them out with a 1.3% gain. Temporary power provider Aggreko (AGK) warned on its 2013 outlook and as a result lost a whopping 17% of its market capitalisation.

Supercart (SC.) was top of the tree on AIM, gaining 20%, while Manx Financial Group (MFX) lost 15%.

Interactive Investor users continued to buy into Centamin (CEY) as the miner recovered from last week's fall on the news that it had restarted operations at its Egyptian mine.

Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, commented: "Has Santa already delivered his rally? After the significant gains from mid-December, can catalysts be identified for another push higher? Or is this an early festive pause for breath before 2013 kicks off in bullish style?

"This week's focus will comprise the US fiscal cliff negotiations (or lack of), UK inflation which rose last month and may have ticked up again eating up slower wage growth. Minutes from the Bank of England will likely show limited calls for more quantitative easing, with markets anticipating a move being more likely in the first quarter."

At a glance...

Asian marketsCurrenciesCommodities
Nikkei 225: 9828 ( 91)GBP/USD: 1.6189Gold: $1,689.34
Hang Seng: 22513 ( 92)GBP/EUR: 1.2300WTI crude oil: $86.79
Shanghai Composite: 2160 ( nine)EUR/USD: 1.3161 






08:00 - The FTSE 100 (UKX) opens at 5921.76.