- FTSE indices were southbound late morning with falls across a slew of blue-chip sectors, the market taking a broad directional leaf from grim Wall St and Asia sessions overnight.

Credit agency Experian (EXPN) fell 6.08% to 1065p after its FY results flagged short-term headwinds. Subdued trading in Brazil and a likely hit to revenue in the US, due to operational changes, were combining to constrain growth in H1 of its new financial year.

Late morning, the FTSE 100 was down 28.59 points, or 0.42%, to 6769.97, while the FTSE 250 fell 67.91 points, or 0.43%, to 15,870.8. FTSE 350 indices for construction & materials, food & drug retailers and banks were all down more than 1%.

In the US last night the tech sector was again in negative focus, Twitter leading the posse lower. The Dow fell 130 points to 16,401, the Nasdaq lost 57 points at 4,081. The S&P500 shed 17 points at 1,868. In Asia, the Nikkei fell 424 points at 14,033 and the Hang Seng was off 244 points at 21,732.

Back in London resources stocks were in focus. Cairn Energy (CNE) slipped 0.85% to 186.9p and Petrofac (PFC) fell 1.55% to 1425.5p. Miners – among them Lonmin (LMI) and BHP Billiton (BLT) – were off 0.89%-1.88%.

Sainsbury (SBRY) fell 1.84% to 327.25p on robust FY figures, swan song results for long-serving CEO Justin King. Taxable profits rose 5.3% to £798m and like-for-like sales rose 0.2% in the year to 15 March, a testing period in which Sainsbury’s maintained its grocery market share at 16.8%, its highest for a decade.

Tesco (TSCO) lost 0.96% to 285.05p. Marks & Spencer (MKS) dropped 0.06% to 436.75p. Morrisons (MRW) fell 5.82% to 190.25p. Among the property issues, house builder Wolseley (WOS) shed 1.21% to 3395.5p, while retail commercial property specialist Hammerson (HMSO) dropped 0.43% to 572.5p.

Financial stocks were also prominent among the fallers beyond Experian. In the news Barclays (BARC) shed 1.67% to 240.9p, followed by Lloyds (LLOY), HSBC (HSBA) and RSA Insurance (RSA), which all softened 0.91%-1.34%.

Ex-dividend factors sent logistics group Bunzl (BNZL) down 1.17% to 1645.5p, while household goods maker Unilever (ULVR) lost 0.68% to 2574.5p. Can maker Rexam (REX) eased 2.19% to 487p.

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca (AZN) continued to lose ground as discussions over its possible deal with Pfizer rumble on. It shares slipped 1.39% to 4612.5p in the increasingly politicised saga.

Medical equipment maker EKF Diagnostics (EKF:AIM) plunged 23.85% to 24.75p on news US of reimbursement rate cuts. The agreement, for its drug metabolism genetic biomarkers from recently acquired Selah Genomics, will be $495 a sample, almost half the $941 expected. EKF has not altered its expectations.


France's trade balance fell to -4.9bn euros in April, from a revised -3.8bn in March, data from the country's Ministry of Finance showed. The market had expected a fall to -4.0bn euros.

French industrial production fell 0.7% in March from February, when it rose 0.1%, data from statistics bureau Insee showed. The market was looking for a rise of 0.3%.

Meantime, German factory orders adjusted for seasonal swings and inflation fell 2.8% in March from February, when they rose a revised 0.9%, Federal Statistics Office data showed. Expectations were for a 0.3% rise.


Media giant ITV (ITV) rose 1.1% to 187.95p after strengthening its position in the US content market. It is paying $360m for 80% of Leftfield, an independent producer of reality programmes including Real Housewives of New Jersey.

Rolls-Royce (RR.) fell 1.59% to 1022.5p as it announced the £785m sale of its gas turbine and compressor business to Siemens (SIE:ETR). On completion, expected in December this year, Rolls will get a further £200m for a 25-year licensing agreement on its gas turbine technology Investec said the deal ‘looks unlikely to be a catalyst for a significant re-rating’.

Rightmove (RMV) fell 1.55% to 2383.5p despite a bullish trading update for the first four months of 2014. It retained a slot in the UK’s top 10 most popular websites with a 14% rise in page impressions year-on-year. More estate agents and new home advertisers were using its website and January saw a new monthly record for traffic with 1.45bn pages viewed.

Industrial fastener specialist Trifast (TRI) added 7.71% to 99.63p as it announced plans to buy Italian rival Viterie Italia Centrale for £22.5m. N+1 Singer said the deal should enhance earnings by 15%-20% in the March 2015 financial year and 20%-25% in March 2016.

Clean energy storage developer Ilika (IKA:AIM) saw its shares rise 3.7% to 63p as it was granted UK patents on some of its solid-state battery processes. The joint filing is, interesting, in conjunction with Japanese car giant Toyota.

Cloud calls service supplier Coms (COMS:AIM) rallied a little more than 4.56% to 6.3p on string of new contract wins worth £14.2m.

Bargain Booze and Wine Rack-owner Conviviality Retail (CVR:AIM) gained 1.5% to 169.5p on a positive pre-close trading update. Following a strong Easter, FY earnings were expected to be ‘slightly ahead’ of consensus expectations said Conviviality, which yesterday announced the acquisition of 26 Rhythm & Booze stores in Yorkshire.

Connectivity supplier Volex (VLX) attempted to reassure investors with a short data division update and 4G rollouts. There’s little real news, so, while the shares edge 1.82% up to 97.75p, it’s worth remembering the challenges facing the company.

Stem cell specialist ReNeuron (RENE:AIM) improved 4.76% to 3.41p on positive stroke therapy results in first clinical trial. It is looking for a new CEO after number cruncher Michael Hunt switched to more familiar territory as the company’s CFO. Story provided by