StockMarketWire.com - FTSE indices closed lower with resources stocks providing ballast throughout the lacklustre session, with several financials also drifting down. Wall St was mixed early on, while European markets peaked into positive territory.

FTSE 100 closed down 15.34 points, or 0.22%, to 6810.6. FTSE 250 was down 68.12, or 0.41%, to 16,357.6. A healthy flow of corporate news failed to scoop the FTSE into positive territory. At 4.47pm, WTI crude was down 1.17% to $43.93/bbl. Brent rose 0.33% to $48.63/bbl.

Fresnillo (FRES) led miners and blue-chip fallers, off 5.27% to 862p, followed by Glencore (GLEN), Lonmin (LMI) and Antofagasta (ANTO). Oil stocks paled. Shell (RDSA) lost 4.48% to 2057p on a $15bn cut to investment in response to slumping oil prices. Its FY earnings improved. BP (BP.) and Wood Group (WG.) also eased.

Banks nipped lower behind Standard Chartered (STAN), off 1.75% to 889.15p, with insurers tracing Admiral (ADM), and investment specialists trailing Schroders (SDR). Other sectors surrendering ground included supermarkets, pharmas, and several utilities.

In more general market news, Diageo (DGE) rose 1.39% to 1989.25p as H1 pretax profit fell, but its dividend rose and Q2 trade improved. Royal Mail (RMG) faded 1.79% to 429.95p on news chairman Donald Brydon was leaving. The biggest blue-chip gainers included Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.), M&S (MKS) and Inmarsat (ISAT), all up 2.99%-3.82%

BIGGER MOVERS

Active Energy Group (AEG) fell 50.93% to 4.6p after stating it welcomed a probe into Métis procedures related to KAQUO Forestry & Natural Resources Development Corp.

Management Resource Solutions (MRS), down 28.41% to 15.75p, noted volatility in its share price and said trading has continued in line with director views. It anticipated its FY results would be materially ahead of last time.

Fitbug (FITB) jumped 28% to 6.88p, off highs of 9.25p, on its digital health coaching platform Kiqplan becoming a member of the newly launched Jawbone Marketplace, which features best-in-class devices and apps spanning fitness, sleep, food and the smart home.

Produce Investments (PIL), down 16.91% to 140p, expected its FY pretax profit to be well below current market views. It blamed tough comparatives, combined with a lower consumption in the fresh potato sector.

Aukett Swanke (AUK), up 10.98% to 7.63p, posted FY pretax profits of £1.4m, up 155% up on last time. Revenues rose 106% to £17.3m. Meantime, Galileo Resources (GLR) fell 13.66% to 3.13p after raising £0.3m via a placing at 3p a share.

ECONOMIC NEWS

US initial jobless claims fell to 265,000 in the week to Jan. 24, down 43,000 on the week, US Department of Labor said. Meantime, US National Association of Realtors' Pending Home Sales Index, a forward indicator, fell 3.7% to 100.7 in December, from November's revised 104.6.

In UK, Confederation of British Industry's realises sales index fell 22.0 points to 39.0 in January, from December's 61.0. The market had expected a fall of 31.0 points to 30.0.

Germany's unemployment rate fell to a record low of 6.5% in January, official data showed, from December's revised 6.6%. The print was in line with market views. Jobless people fell 8000 on a seasonally-adjusted basis to 2.836m, the data showed.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Haynes Publishing's (HYNS) H1 revenues slumped 20% to £11.9m as tough trading conditions continue bit. EBITDA collapsed 44% to £1.9m, demonstrating the geared effect on profits, sparking a 5.31% share slide to 116p.

Mobile Streams (MOS) added 9.93% to 11.13p as it reassured investors over trading. It sees H2 revenues of about £18.5m, down from £27m due to the devaluation of Argentina's Peso. It insisted that Peso-denominated revenues were in line, on the year.

Next Fifteen Communications (NFC), up 9.27% to 162p, intends to tap investors for £4.3m of investment funding. It also expected to exceed the top-end market expectations for its FY. In other news, Hutchison China MediTech (HCM) rose 4.26% to 1470p on expanding its relationship with AstraZeneca (AZN) by agreeing to distribute its schizophrenia drug Seroquel in China.

Paypoint (PAY) shed 5.83% to 828.25p as it reported reduced energy usage impacted bill payment transactions through its store-based terminals. It has also been hit by an adverse value-added tax ruling that would cost it £1m-£2m this year.

In a session rich on news flow, share-price beneficiaries were Landore Resources (LND), De La Rue (DLAR), Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) and Rank Group (RNK). Fallers were Renishaw (RSW) and ASOS (ASC).


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