- FTSE indices entrenched their losses to midday with oil stocks hurt as crude prices wilted. Falling miners only added to the woes in a session rattled by renewed Greek debt concerns. Prudential (PRU) and Antofagasta (ANTO) fell on news, but G4S (GFS) managed gains.

Prudential (PRU) fell 2.66% to 1619.25p despite hiking its FY pretax profit to £3.154bn, from £2.082bn. CEO Tidjane Thiam has quit to run Credit Suisse bank later this year. G4S (GFS) rose 2.41% to 298p as its FY underlying profit before interest, tax and amortisation came in at £424m, up 7.9%.

To midday, FTSE 100 was down 77.7 points, or 1.13%, to 6798.77. FTSE 250 shed 111.26, or 0.65%, to 17,055.8. At 11.53am, WTI crude was off 0.66% to $49.67/bbl. Brent fell 1.35% to $57.74/bbl. In Brussels, euro-zone finance ministers told Greece to stop time wasting time, and get down to the bedrock of debt-reform talks.

Tullow Oil (TLW) lost 7.14% to 321.4p, with Cairn Energy (CNE) off 6.51% to 185.2p. BP (BP.) and Shell (RDSA) followed. Miners fell behind Lonmin (LMI), down 6.49% to 118.1p. Antofagasta (ANTO) paled 2.66% to 732.5p after a court ruled it must change a tailings waste facility, potentially triggering a major disruption to its flagship copper mine in Chile.

Upside winners were few, about 10. In the spotlight HSBC (HSBA) rose 0.35% to 568.5p, with a few other financials accompanying. Morrisons (MRW) added 0.19% to 208.6p, but other supermarkets and retail-related issues softened as UK like-for-like retails sales grew less than expected in January. Most other blue-chip sectors were down.


Optare (OPE), up 81.82% to 0.3p, has received an order worth £7.3m from Stagecoach UK Bus. It is expected that deliveries of new Euro 6 Optare Solos of varying specifications to Stagecoach will be completed by end-2015.

IGas (IGAS) rose 20.33% to 28.88p on a farm-out deal with private chemicals group Ineos. Ineos gets a 50% interest in its North West assets and its entire working interest in its Scottish acreage in return for a cash payment of £30m and promised investment of £138m.

Sunrise Resources (SRES) was up 20% to 0.33p on news it had increased its ground holding at the Bay State and County Line projects, and to be reporting new gold generation from reconnaissance sampling in an overlooked area of Nevada.

AFC Energy (AFC) has signed a formal project development agreement with Samyoung Corp and Changshin Chemical for the deployment of an initial 50MW of fuel cell generation capacity in Daesan, South Korea. Its shares rose 19.77% to 10.63p.


British Retail Consortium said UK like-for-like retail sales rose 0.2% in February, from a 0.2% rise previously. The market expected a 0.5% hike.

French industrial production gained a better-than-expected 0.4% in January, against a previous rise of 1.4%. The market expected a print of -0.2%. Italian industrial production fell 0.7% in January, from a 0.4% rise previously. The market was looking for a 0.2% rise.


Beowulf Mining (BEM), down 19.35% to 1.25p, has raised £350,000 gross through a placing of 29.17m shares at 1.2p each. Meantime, Strat Aero (AERO), down 17.39% to 9.5p, has raised £0.66m gross through the issue of 7.33m new shares at 9p each.

Tethys Petroleum (TPL) has entered a $3.5m loan agreement with Annuity and Life Reassurance Ltd. It shares fell 13.43% to 7.25p. Elsewhere, Superglass (SPGH), down 9.25% to 3.63p, has said after a slow start to H1 it expected to booke an EBITDA loss of about £1.9m. Its transformation plan remains on track.

STM Group (STM), up 13.46% to 29.5p, has hiked its FY pretax profit to £1.7m, from £0.3m. Revenue was £15.9m, from £13.4m. Meantime, Esure's (ESUR), down 8.06% to 214.95p, FY pretax profit fell 12.8% to £103.3m, dented by market conditions and Gocompare acquisition costs.

DJI (DJI) tumbled 6.67% to 70p on news several lottery centres in China have temporarily suspended accepting online orders for lottery products while they undergo self-inspection. DJI insisted this wouldn't have a material impact on its FY results.

St Ives (SIV), shed 8.12% to 172.5p as its H1 pretax profit fell 63% to £2.3m. It proposed an interim dividend of 2.25p a share, up5% to 2.15p.

Stocks moving on news included Premier Oil (PMO), Tyman (TYMN), Close Brothers Group (CBG), InterQuest (ITQ), Jiasen (JSI), Ocado (OCDO), Hill & Smith Holdings (HILS), Craneware (CRW), Stadium Group (SDM), Matomy Media (MTMY), SDL (SDL), John Menzies (MNZS), Totally (TLY) and Aquatic Foods (AFG).

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