StockMarketWire.com - London equities retreated to fresh lows as crude oil prices sagged and traders across Europe and on Wall St fled for safe-haven gold amid worries about the global economic outlook. Miners divined direction, with oil majors and financials not far behind.

FTSE 100 closed down 50.23 points, or 0.88%, to 5639.13, a more than three-year low. FTSE 250 dived 151.56, or 0.98%, to 15,346.4, a more than 12-month nadir. At 4.36pm, WTI crude was at USD29.61/bbl and Brent was at USD32.20/bbl, both down from noon. Gold was up at USD1193/oz.

Investors are jittery about the outlook for global economic growth, China's falling forex reserves and bleak economic outlook, and the worldwide glut of crude oil. Chronic tensions in the Middle East are a factor, too.

Anglo American (AAL) dumped 11.2% to 333.98p as it said it will book underlying FY earnings of USD238m from Kumba Iron Ore, from USD693m. Antofagasta (ANTO) dropped 9.37% to 410.9p, with Glencore (GLEN) tanking 8.13% to 94.44p. Several sector pals were off more than 5%.

Oilies followed crude's price. Shell (RDSA) dropped 3.99% to 1461.25p, with BP (BP.) down 2.69% to 334.65p. Financials eased after Asia-focused Standard Chartered (STAN), lower 5.55% to 403.3p, with Barclays (BARC) retreating 4.67% to 156.25p. More banks, insurers, investors and asset managers were close behind.

Utilities softened in the wake of Centrica (CNA), down 2.08% to 187.9p. Commercial property eased behind Intu (INTU), off 2.24% to 274.6p. Pharmas faded in the shadow of Hikma (HIK), lower 3.2% to 1995p. House builders also tapered, as did consumer goods.

Overall, about 62 blue chips lost traction, while the 38 on the rise included high-street retail and supermarkets. Next (NXT) chaired retail with a gain of 3.65% to 6665p, while M&S (MKS) guided supermarkets with a 1.01% surge to 411.2p. A number of leisure-linked outfits fell. However, TUI (TUI) lost 1.37% to 1083p on reiterating its FY guidance.

BIGGER MOVERS

Trans-Siberian Gold (TSG), up 47.67% to 31.75p, noted the increase in its share price and said it was not aware of any reason for the movement other than the recovery in the gold price and the general macroeconomic environment.

Cambian (CMBN), down 51.87% to 57.63p, has made a further downward revision for its FY expectations. It now expects FY revenue and adjusted EBITDA will be about GBP292m and GBP46m respectively.

Motive Television (MTV), down 44.44% to 0.0p, has received a conversion notice from Bergen Global Opportunity Fund to exercise its right to convert GBP60,190 of existing debt into equity. It has allotted 1.2bn shares.

Circle (CIRC), up 36.23% to 23.5p, exceeded management expectations in the year to Dec. 31, 2015, for both revenue and EBITDA, with all assets delivering improved results year-on-year.

ECONOMIC NEWS

Stateside, US wholesale inventories fell to USD582.0bn at end-December, down 0.1% from the revised November level, US Department of Commerce said. Meantime, US Bureau of Labor Statistics said the number of job openings rose to 5.6m on December's last business day.

Back in Europe, UK retail sales improved 2.6% in January, well and truly trumping forecasts for a 0.3% rise and eclipsing the 0.1% gain in December, data from British Retail Consortium showed. Germany booked a December trade balance of 18.8bn euros, which was below the 19.7bn euros surplus recorded in November and below the forecast 19.4bn euros.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Tern (TERN), up 27.27% to 15.75p, said Cryptosoft's new V4.0 release has eliminated questions about whether security solutions for IoT and M2M devices can be developed, and whether these will be cost prohibitive.

ValiRx (VAL) climbed 13.33% to 17p on its prostate cancer treatment VAL201 passing safety tests with flying colours. The company plans to expand the use of the treatment to tackle endometriosis, an infertility condition.

African Potash (AFPO), down 9.38% to 1.45p, said payment is still pending for 20,000 metric tonnes (MT) dispatched on Jan. 6 in partial satisfaction of the 50,000 MT purchase order with a Zambian customer, introduced by COMESA.

Frontera Resources (FRR), up 7.21% to 0.6p, has signed a MoU with UkrGasVydobuvannya, a subsidiary of Ukraine's national energy company, National Joint Stock Company Naftogaz. RWS (RWS), up 4.16% to 197.38p, said it has performed significantly ahead of the board's expectations during the first three months of the current financial year.

Tungsten (TUNG), down 6.65% to 61.38p, directors are confident the company is on track to achieve break-even on an EBITDA basis by end-FY17, and a positive EBITDA for the six-months ended Oct. 31, 2017.

Cyan (CYAN) added 5.26% to 0.15p on receiving an initial purchase order from Micromodje for the implementation of 2000 smart meters in Iran. These will be used as part of a street traffic cameras programme. The initial purchase order is worth just GBP67,000.

Allied Minds (ALM), down 2.15% to 304.7p, saw positive progress in 2015 with its subsidiaries meeting or exceeding commercial milestones in nearly all instances. B.P. Marsh (BPM), up 1.32% to 153.5p, has a strong investment pipeline with GBP3.6m net cash available for new investment opportunities.

Other stocks in the news included Phoenix Spree Deutschland Ltd (PSDL), ICAP (IAP), Secure Income REIT (SIR), Britvic (BVIC), Inchcape (INCH), Assura (AGR), Sound Energy (SOU), Commercial International Bank (Egypt) (CBKD), Xeros (XSG), Regional REIT (RGL), Redrow (RDW) and Sophos (SOPH).

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