StockMarketWire.com - FTSE indices were firmly lower in early deals, following European markets and hefty drops in Asia and on Wall St last night following the US FOMC's hawkish statement. Resources stocks were vanguard for blue-chip losers, with financials and others following.

Just after the open, FTSE 100 was down 55.2 points, or 0.81%, to 6770.74. FTSE 250 was down 85.81, or 0.52%, to 16,339.9. At 8.35am, crude oil was mixed, but remained below $50/bbl. FOMC signalled it would not hike short-term interest rates before June, but was quiet on when the benchmark rate might be levered from near zero.

Weir Group (WEIR) led blue-chip losers with a fall of 4.26% to 1605.5p. Shell (RDSA) lost 3.44% to 2079.5p as it said FY earnings, on a CCS basis, were $19.0bn, from $16.7bn. Rival BP (BP.) fell 3.15% to 419.3p, while Wood Group (WG.), Petrofac (PFC) and BG (BG.) followed.

Metals burrowers slipstreamed KAZ Minerals' (KAZ) 2.79% fall to 186.75p. Financials marching lower included Standard Chartered (STAN), down 2.1% to 886p, with RBS (RBS), Schroders (SDR), Investec (INVP) and Standard Life (SL.) behind.

In market news, Diageo (DGE) fell 0.17% to 1958.75p as its H1 pretax profit fell to £1.6bn, from £2.13bn. Royal Mail (RMG) faded 1.05% to 43.2p on news chairman Donald Brydon was leaving. Overall, supermarkets were mixed, as were pharma stocks. There were barely 20 blue chips on the rise.

BIGGER MOVERS

Produce Investments (PIL), down 18.4% to 137.5p, expects its FY pretax profit to be substantially below current market expectations. It blamed tough comparatives, combined with a lower consumption in the fresh potato sector.

Aukett Swanke Group (AUK), up 18.25% to 8.13p, has posted FY pretax profits of £1.4m , up 155% up on last time. Revenue rose 106% to £17.3m.

Mobile Streams (MOS), up 12.4% to 11.38p, said it traded in line during the six months to Dec. 31, 2014. It sees H2 revenues of about £18.5m, from £27m, due to the devaluation of Argentina's Peso. It said Peso-denominated revenues were in line, on the year.

Next Fifteen Communications (NFC) intends to raise about £4.3m after expenses via a placing. It also expected to exceed the top end of market expectations for its FY. It rose 8.26% to 160.5p.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) said, in a trading statement covering the 17 weeks to Jan. 24, year-to-date total sales increased by 9.1%, with like-for-like sales growth of 1.7%. Its shares fell 1.17% to 417.05p.

De La Rue (DLAR), up 1.12% to 517.25p, said trading since Sept. 27, 2014, has been in line with revised views. It sees group operating profit for 2014-15 about £20m lower than the underlying operating profit of £89.3m reported for 2013-14.

Haynes Publishing's (HYNS) total H1 revenues fell 20% to £11.9m. EBITDA fell 44% to £1.9m and operating profit dropped to £0.3m, from £1.9m. The results reflected tough trading conditions in all of Haynes' major consumer markets. It fell 6.94% to 114p.

Renishaw's (RSW) H1 pretax profit was £56.6m, to £25.6m. Revenue rose £223.8m, from £163.9m. It proposed a dividend of 12.5p a share. Its shares rose 0.94% to 2363p.



Story provided by StockMarketWire.com