StockMarketWire.com - London equities ended southbound thanks to falling leisure-linked, pharma and banking stocks, which outstripped gains among a posse of oil issues. House builders and insurers were also on the back foot. Key European bourses were heavily lower.

FTSE 100 closed down 58.59 points, or 0.98%, to 5931.78, while FTSE 250 was lower 84.43, or 0.52%, to 16,196.5. At 4.43pm, crude was straddling USD34/bbl, having gained all day. Gold was at USD1116/oz and down a little from midday. Wall St was modestly mixed.

Ashtead (AHT) fell 8.13% to 886.5p, this as one of its US rivals noted weaker earnings. Thereafter leisure-linked stocks traced Carnival (CCL), down 7.67% to 3338p, IAG (IAG), off 5.48% to 522.25p, TUI (TUI), down 3.13% to 1177p, and easyJet (EZJ), lower 2.89% to 1527.5p.

Pharmas eased after Shire (SHP), down 5.95% to 3809p. Multiple banks fell after Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), down 2.68% to 248.85p. House builders weakened behind Barratt Developments (BDEV), off 2.15% to 580.25p, while insurers followed Direct Line (DLG), down 2.37% to 368.55p.

More than 80 blue chips fell, almost 70 of these by 1% or more. Anglo American (AAL) rose 7.91% to 273.83p on improved production in the December quarter. Meantime, oilies were queuing behind Shell (RDSA), up 1.81% to 1489.5p. Supermarkets figured among both risers and fallers.

Diageo (DGE), down 2.06% to 1828.5p, said its momentum continued in the six months to the end of December. SSE (SSE), down 1.08% to 1416.5p, is on track for adjusted EPS for 2015/16 of 115p a share.

BIGGER MOVERS

Condor Gold (CNR), up 31.65% to 52p, continues to enjoy market chatter on what the miner will do next, having scrapped plans to sell itself. EU Supply (EUSP), down 29.41% to 4.5p, expects to report total FY revenues of about GBP2.8m, from GBP2.5m. This represents anticipated growth of about 13% year-on-year, or roughly 24% at constant currencies.

Arian Silver (AGQ) dived 36% to 1.2p after issuing 'units' comprising shares and warrants at the discounted price of 1p to raise GBP0.8m to be used for working capital at its mining prospects in Mexico.

Independent Oil and Gas (IOG), up 25.64% to 6.13p, said its Skipper licence has been formally extended until Dec. 31 after talks with the UK Oil & Gas Authority. IOG intends to drill the appraisal well as soon as economic conditions allow.

ECONOMIC HIGHLIGHTS

Stateside, initial jobless claims fell to 278,000 in the week ended Jan. 23, down 16,000 from the previous week's revised level, US Department of Labor said. Meantime, the Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, edged up 0.1% to 106.8 in December, from a downwardly revised 106.7 in November.

Still in the US, new orders for US-made durable goods in December fell USD12.0bn, or 5.1% to USD225.4bn, US Census Bureau said. Core new orders, which excludes transportation, shed 1.2% in December, the bureau said.

UK's gross domestic product growth came in at 0.5% sequentially in Q4, which was in line with market forecasts and marginally up from Q3. UK's index of services firmed 0.2%, from a 0.1% gain in October.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Ten Alps (TAL), down 21.43% to 1.38p, anticipates achieving FY revenues broadly in line with market views, but sees EBITDA below current market expectations. It noted that it expected to move from a loss to a material profit at EBITDA level.

KAZ Minerals (KAZ), up 16.87% to 125.63p, said its copper and by-product output met or beat guidance in 2015. FY copper cathode output totalled 81.1 kt, in line with guidance of 80-85 kt.

Victoria Oil and Gas (VOG) firmed 16.22% to 31.38p as it unveiled plans for 2016, including boosting gas supply to its industrial customers around the city of Douala by 30% and drilling two new wells on its Logbaba field.

FirstGroup (FGP), down 12.43% to 89.58p, said Q3 revenues fell 9.5% on a constant currency basis, mostly reflecting changes to the rail franchise portfolio, and the number of First Student operating days due to the timing of school calendar.

Stellar Diamonds (STEL), up 10.53% to 10.5p, said good progress continues towards the approval of the mining licence for its 1.45m carat Tongo Dyke-1 project, Sierra Leone. FastForward Innovations (FFWD), up 17.71% to 14.13p, has appointed non-executive director Lorne Abony, the company's single largest investor, as CEO.

LSL Property Services (LSL) jumped 5.72% to 254p on operating profit for 2015 beating 2014's figures thanks to a strong H2 across its business. Asian Citrus (ACHL) soured 9.09% to 3.75p as it juiced out the latest in a string of profit warnings. It guided towards lower-than-expected FY sales and a wider-than-anticipated loss.

NetPlay TV (NPT) firmed 4.41% to 8.88p after saying net revenue and adjusted EBITDA for 2015 will be in line with market views. It continues to be highly cash generative. Hansard Global (HSD) added 8.25% to 112p on the GBP56.4m of new business booked in H1 being 92% higher on the year. Management sees more of the same in H2.

Anglo Pacific (APF) rose 7.14% to 56.25p on a mixture of good and bad news. It blamed falling coal prices for necessitating a 25% cut in its dividend. However, royalty income for 2015 is set to be 2.5 times higher than the previous year and operating costs are falling.

Other stocks in the news included Synectics (SNX), Strat Aero (AERO), PayPoint (PAY), Scisys (SSY), Fuller, Smith & Turner (FSTA), Mitchells & Butlers (MAB), Tri-Star (TSTR), Noricum Gold (NMG), Dalata Hotel (DAL), Cranswick (CWK), Jimmy Choo (CHOO), Quarto (QRT), Renishaw (RSW), Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT), Lighthouse (LGT), Redefine Int'l (RDI), NetPlay TV (NPT), Kibo Mining (KIBO), Cpl Resources (CPS), Sanne (SNN), Skyepharma (SKP) and Matchtech (MTEC).




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