StockMarketWire | 01/08/2014 - 23:40
Latest Price Chart

FTSE indices closed down after a session studded with lacklustre financial reports, resources and financial stocks the ballast, as Wall St wilted under more earnings season investor ire.

At 5 p.m, the FTSE 100 was down 50.93 points, or 0.76%, to 6679.18, and the FTSE 250 was down 92.94 points, or 0.6%, to 15,402.7. Both indices were off earlier lows.

In the US, the Dow fell 98 points to 16,464, the Nasdaq lost 39 points to 4331 and the S&P 500 shed 12 points to 1919. In Asia, the Nikkei closed down 98 points to 15,523, and the Hang Seng fell 225 points to 24,532.

Wall St's slump was also founded on market participants continuing to assess the impact of the approaching end to economic stimulus by the US Federal Reserve, which has hitherto acted as a prop.

Back in UK, Serco (SRP) led the FTSE 100 lower, down 4.37% to 345.9p.

Utility outfits were prominent, United Utilities (UU.) led the sector south with a 3.82% fall to 856p. Energy plays followed with Wood Group (WG.) down 2.67% to 730p. Insurers were a jot off the pace, Standard Life (SL.) captaining with a 2.45% fall to 365.6p.

Miners were down and some distance of the southerly pace, as were tobacco stocks and pharmaceutical issues.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) booked an H1 pretax profit of £2,652m, from £1,374m, on more favourable credit conditions and good results from RBS Capital Resolution. Its shares fell 1.49% to 350p.

Babcock (BAB), down 1.64% to 1080p, has won a 5-year contract worth up to £180m to supply and support training to the Armed Forces.

International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) rose 2.24% to 338.2p as H1 operating profits benefitted from restructuring at Spanish airline Iberia and lower fuel costs.

BIGGER MOVERS

Eco City Vehicles (ECV:AIM) crashed 34.62% to 0.43p on admitting to a funding crunch. It has launched a strategic review that could call in to question the company’s very survival, with H1 sales slumping 33% as competition bits.

Blackpool-based toys maker Casdon (CDY:AIM) plunged 23.85% t 41.5p on a combination of news. It shocked with news it plans to de-list from AIM. A 30% drop in FY profits added to the grim backcloth.

Healthcare research tool provider Avacta (AVCT:AIM) dived 10.95% to 0.94p as sales of its analytical Optim line in North America missed expectations. Adding to the bad news was word that in-clinic diagnostic device Sensipod’s development has been delayed.

A new venture in Mexico lifted oil and gas minnows Northcote Energy (NCT:AIM) and MX Oil (MXO:AIM) up 8.64% to 0.88p and 0.75% to 3.38p respectively. A 10-year tie up gives Northcote the right to participate with MX in any of its projects in Mexico, with the company taking up to 20% interest.

ECONOMIC NEWS

Stateside, the Institute for Supply Management's Prices Index registered 59.5% in July, up 1.5 percentage points from June.

US construction spending was estimated at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of $950.2bn in June, 1.8% below the revised May estimate, US Department of Commerce figures showed.

US consumer sentiment fell to 81.8, University of Michigan's revised July survey showed, down from 82.0 previously.

The US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to 55.8 in July, down from a 49-month high of 57.3 in June. UK's manufacturing PMI fell to 55.4 in July, from 57.2 in June. Euro zone's manufacturing PMI fell to 51.8 in July, from 51.9 in June.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Smith & Nephew (SN.) rose 3.8% to 1065p on a positive outlook for profit margins. That was in spite of falling pretax profits.

Non-life insurer Directline (DLG) gained 5.05% to 299.4p on paying a 10p a share special dividend and boosting its interim payment 4.8% to 4.4p.

Low-powered semiconductors technology developer Toumaz (TMZ:AIM) fell 1.72% to 7.13p. It ran-up £5.6m deficit in H1, unchanged, despite a 32% jump in revenues.

A new £1m ontract to supply LED lighting with a major UK food and clothing retailer lifted energy saving solutions specialist APC Technology (APC:AIM) 3.31% to 39p.

Personal goods powerhouse PZ Cussons (PZC) followed up well-received finals with news of an acquisition. The outfit, up 1.9% to 360.1p, is buying Aussie organic yoghurt brand Five:am for £44.1m cash, plus up to £7.7m based on performance targets.