FTSE ends the day 40 points down but airlines fly higher


UK shares appeared to be in a holding pattern Tuesday, ending the day down - and in much the same position as where they had been at lunch.

FTSE100 closed the afternoon session down 40 points at 6,812 as the Dow Jones was plummeting 345 points lower as New York and the north-east USA was being battered by torrid weather.

Speaking of holding patterns, it was the big cap airliners that were supporting FTSE100 in London, with IAG up 2.19% and  easyJet (LON:EZJ) almost 2% to the good.

British Airways owner IAG (LON:IAG) climbed as Aer Lingus said it was willing to accept the firm's third takeover bid, which values the Irish carrier at £1bn.  

Meanwhile, EasyJet was wanted after the British budget airline said it expects to report an increase in revenues per seat in the first half.

Earlier, Chris Beauchamp at IG Index, had said of the decline in equity markets across Europe Tuesday: "Europe is finally waking up from the post-ECB excitement, while the sheer volume of earnings scheduled this week from the US means that markets there are on the back foot too.

"Combine that with an upcoming Federal Open Market Committee meeting and it looks like the indecisiveness exhibited by US indices so far is likely to remain with us."

Elsewhere, among the top big cap fallers was last year's mega merger Dixons Carphone (LON:DC.), which sank 2.44% after its rating was cut to “underweight” by heavyweight broker Morgan Stanley.

Also Royal Mail Group (LON:RMG) also shed 2.46% as RBC Capital Markets changed their stance on the postal group to “underperform”.

The big tumbler, however, today, was mid-cap oiler Afren (LON:AFR), which plummeted over 71% as it warned of a potential liquidity funding crisis.

Across the pond, trading did kick off on Wall Street, despite the Big Apple, plus Boston and other areas of the north-east having been effectively shut down, with residents - around 60mln of them - expecting around 24 inches of the white stuff to be dumped on doorsteps.

An emergency has been declared in the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and the subway had earlier been suspended.

The Nasdaq is down 72 and the S&P500 down 23 at the time of writing.

Turning to the UK's smaller caps, and medtech group Angle (LON:AGL) was a notable riser, adding over 25% after a clinical study of its Parsortix system for harvesting circulating tumour cells has hailed its “unprecedented sensitivity and specificity” in identifying ovarian cancer.

The device was used in harness with RNA markers by the Medical University of Vienna and was very accurate in picking up the tell-tale signs of the killer disease and then identifying the strain.

Meanwhile, IGas (LON:IGAS) added almost 4% as the UK shale pioneer was lifted by Parliament’s decision not to impose a moratorium on fracking -  the controversial process used to extract shale gas.

In mining, AIM listed Landore Resources (LON:LND) added over 15%

Also in the digging sector, ScotGold (LON:SGZ), the company developing a gold mine in Argyll, Scotland, succumbed to a little profit-taking on Tuesday, down around 11% -  but shares have almost doubled in value in the past 10 days.

The stock hit a 12-month high last week of 1.4p in the wake of the publication of its updated JORC resource statement for the Cononish project.

Shares in 3Legs Resources (LON:3LEG) jumped 59% as the company revealed that £1.1mln will be returned to shareholders.

3Legs’ main subsidiary is in the process of being wound up, it estimates the costs to be £100,000.

Investors will receive the remaining £1.1mln of cash which equates to 1.28p per share.

Noricum Gold (LON:NMG) shares nudged higher as it completed its latest three drill holes under the Alps in Austria, with grab samples indicating more high grades.

The drilling was across two targets, Weissenbachgraben and Brunngraben, at Schonberg. All three holes reached their target depths.

After ground problems initially with the first hole at Weissenbachgraben, drilling and conditions has improved significantly, it said, and most of the core has now been logged, cut and sent to the lab. 

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