FTSE indices were mixed in early deals with a string of supermarkets and financial stocks in focus. Approaching 9 a.m., the FTSE 100 was down 5.02 points, or 0.07%, to 6772.83, while the FTSE 250 was up 11.33 points, or 0.07%, to 15,826.1.
In the US on Friday night, the Dow rose 42 points to 16,776, while the Nasdaq rose 13 points to 4311. The S&P500 followed suit, adding 6 points to 1936. In Asia today, the Nikkei fell 165 points to 14,933, followed by the Hang Seng, which fell 33 points to 23,281.
Smith & Nephew (SN.) was down 2.24% to 1047p as news emerged that would-be suitor Medtronic Inc. has agreed to buy orthopaedic rival Covidien instead.
Rolls-Royce (RR.) was down 1.52% to 1004.5p after Societe Generale downgraded its recommendation to ‘sell’ from ‘hold’ ahead of Thursday’s Investor Briefing in which the company is expected to discuss strategy, its thoughts on capital allocation and M&A amongst other things.
Supermarkets were in focus. Morrison (MRW) shed 1.09% to 190.2p, Sainsbury (SBRY) lost 1.08% to 319.3p, and Tesco (TSCO) fell 0.71% to 289.93p.
Otherwise the main theme among blue-chip fallers was broader financial-sector stocks.
Admiral (ADM) lost 1.39% to 1529.5p, Experian (EXPN) shed 0.78% to 1020p, and ICAP (IAP) plunged 0.6% to 389.45p. Lloyds (LLOY) was off 0.53% to 77.17p, while Standard Chartered (STAN) eased 0.52% to 384p.
Vodafone (VOD), down 0.41% to 194.2p, today announces its intentions to acquire Cobra Automotive Technologies S.p.A through a voluntary tender offer at 1.49 euros a share in cash, valuing the entire fully diluted ordinary share capital of Cobra at 145m euros.
In other FTSE news, Majestic Wines (MJW) increased its FY pretax profit to £23.76m, from £23.68m a year earlier. Revenue was £278.16m, from £274.42m. It proposed a final dividend of 11.8p net a share, taking the total to 16.0p a share, from 15.8p. It shares fell 0.46% to 431.5p.
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB), up 1.65% to 413.5p, has acquired the majority of the activities of the Orchid Group, including 173 predominantly freehold pubs and the Orchid head office. The purchase price, paid entirely in cash, is £266 million.
Begbies Traynor Group (BEG), down 1.4% to 48.33p, has completed the acquisition of the trade and assets of Ian Franses Associates, the London-based corporate insolvency specialist.
Ultra Electronics (ULE), up 0.65% to 1865p, has acquired Lab Impex Systems Ltd (LIS) for a cash consideration of £3.2m, from private investors which include the original founder.
Ubisense Group (UBI) has received orders from a large European telecommunications company in excess of 1.7m euros. Shares in the company fell 3.52% to 192p.
AorTech (AOR), down 33.33% to 32p, has told shareholders it is taking legal action against its former chief executive which will result in some exceptional charges for the year to the end of March.
Artilium (ARTA) chairman Patrick Morley will step down on 1 July, the AIM-listed telecommunication software and solutions provider having achieved a stable platform over the last 18 months in challenging market conditions. Its shares fell 18.37% to 5p.
TXO (TXO), said its investee company, Athabasca Resources, has appointed advisers for its proposed AIM Admission, which is planned for the end of September 2014. Shares in TXO were up 25% to 0.25p.
UK house price inflation edged lower in June as an increased supply of housing on the market offset some upward pressure on values, a Rightmove survey has revealed. Rightmove’s monthly house price index revealed the average price of properties for sale on its website was 0.1% higher in early June, from May’s 3.6% rise.
Independent Resources (IRG), down 8.8% to 2.85p, made a loss of £3.34m for the 15 months to the end of December (year to September 2012: £1.82m) of which £1.51m related to restructuring of Rivara Gas Storage (2012: nil).
Papua Mining (PML), rose 2.33% to 22p, said the latest assays show there are high-grade copper values associated with the previously reported high-grade gold discovery on EL2051.
InternetQ (INTQ), a leading provider of mobile marketing and digital entertainment solutions for mobile network operators and brands, has reached an agreement to acquire UpMobile, a mobile marketing and interactive TV and radio content provider in Mexico. Its shares rose 2.64% to 283.55p.
The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted a notice of allowance for an ‘optically pure’ version of ImmuPharma’s (IMM) Nucant family. A similar grant has been obtained from the EU, Japanese and Australian patent offices. Its shares rose 3.22% to 48p.
Proxama (PROX) chairman David Bailey said in a statement for the company’s AGM today that it has made significant progress year to date. Its shares fell 2.56% to 4.75p.
Allocate Software’s (ALL) revenues for the year to the end of May were in line with market forecasts while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation and cash were both ahead of expectations. Shares in the company rose 4.03% to 116p.
Tatneft’s (ATAD), down 0.5% to 37.31p, consolidated sales and other operating revenues net of export duties and excise tax totalled RUB116,740m in the first quarter compared to RUB106,554m a year ago. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com