StockMarketWire | 17/04/2015 - 23:50
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FTSE indices closed heavily lower, following European bourses' lead and providing cue for Wall St, with financials, mining and retail-related stocks the main ballast as markets fret over the increasing possibility of 'Grexit' from the euro zone.

FTSE 100 closed down 65.82 points, or 0.93%, to 6994.63. FTSE 250 was down 157.84, or 0.89%, to 17,572.4. At 4.41pm, WTI crude was down 0.83% at $56.24/bbl. Brent was up 0.25% to $64.14/bbl. Trader concerns centre on Greece's looming debt deadlines and a hard-line stance by key creditors such as the IMF.

Kaz Minerals (KAZ), down 5.75% to 227.8p, led blue-chip fallers, followed by Vedanta (VED), off 3.92% to 551.5p, Anglo American (AAL) and others. Financials were notable fallers, too. Schroders (SDR) led with a slide of 2.48% to 3259p, with 3i Group (III) behind. Insurers and banks were queued up thereafter.

Several retailers were under pressure. Tesco (TSCO) faded 1.8% to 236.7p, with Morrisons (MRW) not far behind. Meantime, Serco (SRP) fell 2.79% to 142.6p, as its 1-for-1 fully underwritten rights issue at 101p achieved 94.7% acceptances. Also southbound were several pharmas, utility outfits and commercial property titans.

The vast majority of blue chips finished the session and week lower; barely 10 made generally limp gains. Lonmin (LMI) led to the upside with a 1.97% rise to 140.1p. BP (BP.), up 1.24% to 479.3p, will publish more information on climate change issues following shareholder approval.

OTHER MARKETS

Key Wall St indices were all down more than 1% so far, the Dow fading 1.39% to 17,855 by 4.52pm and the Nasdaq losing 1.43% to 4936. S&P500 fell 1.04% to 2083. In Europe, Germany's DAX shed 2.58% to 11,689 and France's CAC 40 slid 1.56% to 5143.

BIGGER MOVERS

PME African Infrastructure Opportunities (PMEA), up 66.67% to 0.15p, has agreed to sell the majority of its rail assets for a total of $11.5m cash. It has also entered into an option agreement in respect of the company's remaining rail assets. Draganfly Investments (DRG), up 30% to 1.63p, said it was unaware of any reason for its share-price spike.

Applied Graphene Materials (AGM) surged 18.28% to 275p after reporting promising preliminary findings of independent performance testing. The tests were on graphene reinforced polyurethane coatings using its own graphene.

Optimal Payments' (OPAY) shares adjusted to 296p for the admission to trading of its nil-paid rights. Shareholders on the register at 14 April’s close receive an option (nil paid right) to buy 1.66 new shares for each existing share they own at a price of 166p, a 45% discount.

Daniel Stewart Securities' (DAN) nominated adviser Westhouse Securities has resigned, effective May 1. Its shares would be suspended from AIM if a replacement was not appointed within one month of Westhouse ceasing to act as Nomad.

ECONOMIC NEWS

Stateside, the US consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.2% in March on a seasonally adjusted basis, US Bureau of Labor Statistics said. Core CPI -- excluding food and energy -- rose 0.2% in March, as in January and February, US Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

The US Conference Board Leading Economic Index rose 0.2% in March to 121.4, from a 0.1% hike in February and a 0.2% gain in January.

UK's unemployment rate dropped to 5.6% in March, in line with forecasts. UK's claimant count change came in at -20.7k in March, against forecasts for -29.5k. Average earnings including bonuses (3m/yr), printed at 1.7%, from 1.8% previously and expectations for 1.8%.

Euro zone's current-account surplus eased to 26.4bn euros in February, from 30.4bn euros in January, data from European Central Bank showed.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Kromek (KMK) took a plunge, down 8.45% to 32.5p as it issues another revenue warning. Growth will miss expectations as timing of large contracts continues to dog the company, despite promising progress in firm orders and its pipeline of deals.

Roxi Petroleum (RXP) gained 9.68% to 17p as it enters a subscription deal to raise $20 million at 18p per share. The arrangement is with BOCO – a Hong Kong based unit of Chinese industrial firm Bright Oceans – and the funds will be used to develop the flagship BNG asset.

IPSA Group (IPSA), up 5.56% to 1.9p, has won a Malaysian Court of Appeal ruling in its dispute with Iris Ecopower over a non-refundable deposit. IPSA won costs. Edenville Energy (EDL) is on the verge of applying for a mining licence to extract coal from its project in Tanzania, thereby having raw materials to fuel its proposed power plant. It rose 11.11% to 0.05p.

Sound Oil (SOU), down 3.16% to 19.13p, has received the final approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Nervesa field production concession from the Veneto Region. Meantime, Ricardo (RCDO) gained 3.07% to 789p as it sealed a £42.5m deal to buy rail consultancy LR Rail from engineer Lloyd’s Register.

Poundland's (PLND), down 1.11% to 337.2p, proposed takeover of 99p Stores is being referred to a phase 2 investigation by the Competition Markets Authority. It said Poundland had failed to offer any undertakings to address concerns the takeover would result in a substantial reduction in competition.

Other stocks in the news included African Potash (AFPO), Gfinity (GFIN), Schlumberger (SCL), GKN (GKN), Midatech Pharma (MTPH), Carclo (CAR), Acal (ACL), Stadium Group (SDM) and Havelock Europa (HVE).