Low oil and commodity prices keep FTSE in the red

Weaker oil and commodity prices caused Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) to slump 0.5% and prevented the blue chip index from gaining positive momentum.

Brent crude oil slid 0.5% lower to $55 and West Texas Intermediate crude oil retreated 0.3% to $53.15 per barrel, respectively.

Gold rose 0.4% to $1,135 per ounce and copper was flat at $5,511 per tonne.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis signed an agreement with Sunovion for US commercial rights to its chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) treatments. The market didn’t take the news well, pushing its partner Vectura 1.8% lower.

Shares in aerospace peers Meggitt (MGGT) and QinetiQ (QQ.) went in opposite directions after QinetiQ agreed to buy Meggitt Defence Systems and Meggitt Holdings Canada for £57.5m. Meggitt nudged lower to 466.6p, while QinetiQ gained 4.3% to 259.3p.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Biomedical polymer tech firm AorTech (AOR) reported falling sales and rising litigation costs as a dispute with former CEO Frank Maguire continued to drag on performance. Shares in the company crashed 20% to 18.8p.

The market was unhappy with bio-control products provider Eden Research’s (EDEN) latest trading update. Management said it expects an EBITDA loss for the year to 31 December of approximately £1.1m. The stock declined 16.8% to 11.6p.

Amedeo (AMED) said delivery of the Super 116E Class design self-elevating mobile offshore jack up drilling rig for Jiangsu Yangzijiang Offshore Engineering may be subject to delays until financing is secured from the buyer.

Leather goods business Pittards (PTD) issued a profit warning, which it blamed on the impact of social unrest on its tannery in Ethiopia and lower demand for leather. The stock fell 9.4% to 79.7p.

Tech-based security solutions firm Westminster Group (WSG) was boosted 12.4% by an upbeat trading statement. Management said it expects to report an improved financial performance for revenue and earnings before interested, tax, depreciation and amortisation for the year to 31 December.

Russian mineral explorer Amur Minerals (AMC) was 7% higher as a new report on its MKF deposit at its Kun-Manie nickel-copper sulphide project revealed a larger amount of recoverable copper and nickel than previously estimated.

Non-invasive prenatal screening system (NIPT) developer Premiatha Health (NIPT) announced the conditional acquisition of NIPT provider Yourgene Bioscience, triggering an 8.3% drop in the stock.

Aurum Mining (AUR) raised approximately £6m through a discounted shares placing. The firm said the funds will be used to focus on the acquisition and development of businesses operating within cyber security.

Karelian Diamond Resources (KDR) raised £425,000 to fund the advancement of its diamond opportunities, specifically the Lahtojoki diamond project.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com