FTSE indices were down midday with hefty falls in big-ticket supermarkets the result of investors unimpressed by updates from Tesco (TSCO) and Sainsbury (SBRY). Wall St and Asian markets closed down overnight.
Near noon, the FTSE 100 was down 24.95 points, or 0.38%, to 6597.77. FTSE 250 eased 34.17 points, or 0.22%, to 15,345.5. Asian markets have suffered from Hong Kong political protests. Global markets have been cautious about air strikes against terror group IS in Syria and Iraq.
Tesco (TSCO) said the Financial Conduct Authority has begun a full probe after its £250m overstatement of expected profits. Sainsbury (SBRY) said tough grocery market conditions meant it now expected H2 like-for-like sales to be similar on the year. Tesco fell 3.96% to 178.83p, while Sainsbury was slashed by 5.96% to 236.5p.
Resources stocks figured. Energy issues were led down by BG Group (BG.), off 3.31% to 1102.25p, which was buying equipment for a North Sea exploration well. Petrofac (PFC) fell 2.51% to 1011p. Miners were piloted south by Lonmin (LMI), off 4.28% to 177.85p.
Several financial stocks were off the south-bound pace, but others were on the up. Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) captained with 1.06% fall to 935p. Insurers, utility outfits and pharmaceutical stocks also featured on both sides of the FTSE ledger.
Blinkx (BLNX) was confident about its prospects going forward after taking decisive steps to fortify its business model and realign its resources. It saw H1 2015 revenues of $102m-$104m, with H1 2015 adjusted EBITDA at approximately break-even. Its shares fell 16.31% to 29.5p.
MediaZest (MDZ) confirmed contract wins with revenues totalling about £0.62m. One contract, with a large multi-national company and partners, was expected to generate revenues of about £0.4m. It had potential to roll out across multiple UK locations and countries.
Ferrum Crescent (FCR) posted a FY pretax loss of $2.6m, from $1.9m a year ago. Ferrum was disappointed by AAI's failure to meet it payment schedule, but said it had been able to pursue other avenues for financing. Its shares fell 17.65% to 0.7p.
UK manufacturing expanded at its slowest rate in 17 months in September. The Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to 51.6, against a downwardly revised August print of 52.2. Expectations were for 52.6.
A reading above the 50 mark indicates growth, while one below indicates contraction. Euro zone's manufacturing growth slowed in September. Markit's final September manufacturing PMI printed at 50.3, from August's 50.7 and below expectations for a reading of 50.5.
Numis Corp (NUM) fell 9.83% to 239.63p despite saying FY revenues from core activities rose 19%. Its H2 performance 'did not match that of the same period last year, reflecting lower market volumes.'
St. Modwen Properties (SMP), up 2.52% to 376.25p, said all areas of the business were making excellent progress, supported by tangible regional UK growth. FY pretax profit would have increased beyond existing market consensus and was now seen materially ahead of 2013.
Shaft Sinkers (SHFT), down 3.9% to 9.25p, said Hillside International has agreed to expand the quantum of funds made immediately available to it from £3.5m to £5m. Shaft has also agreed a £3.0m bank guarantee facility in relation to its contract with TNK Kazchrome JSC.
Walker Greenbank (WGB), down 0.24% to 206p, has improved its H1 pretax profit to £2.3m, from £2.0m a year earlier. Revenue was £41.1m, from £39.1m. It proposed an interim dividend of 0.35p a share, up 25% on the year.