Market Report: Cape is in a dive as its problems pile up

Problems as far afield as Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Australia have helped sink shares in oil services group Cape. Its fourth profits warning in a year was blamed on a downturn in trade at its onshore oil business in Australia, a £1.5m debt writedown from a Saudi client and continued delays on a liquified natural gas project in Algeria.

The Algerian issue has already cost chief executive Martin May his job this year and now finance director Richard Bingham is following him out of the door.

Cape shares sank 29 per cent, down 76p, to 186p after the update. It said it is reviewing its entire business and its chairman, the former Conservative Energy minister Tim Eggar, said full-year profits would be "significantly below expectations".

There wasn't much better news for shareholders of Finnish mid-cap index miner Talvivaara. Waste water has been leaking out of its nickel mine and production is on hold. Its shares have crashed following the production stoppage amid fears it will need to raise cash to protect it during an investigation into the problems there. Swedbank analyst Erkki Vesola said the prolonged suspension and expected costs in addition to weak nickel prices will mean it will need to raise new financing.

Its shares declined 7.75p to 95.75p.

Miners in South Africa weren't having better luck. The platinum miner Anglo American Platinum, majority owned by giant Anglo American, has given yet another extension to striking employees to come back to work. Yesterday was its third go at tempting them to return with a new pay deal and it has extended this until tomorrow.

Amplats, the world's largest platinum miner with about 35 per cent of global production, has upped its offer to a one-off payment of 4500 rand (£325) to encourage the 30,000 workers back. They face the sack if they do not return on Wednesday.

Amplats said the cost of the two-month strike has risen to $263m (£165m).

The strike, which began at Amplats' Rustenburg operation, followed rival Lonmin's strike at its Marikana mine.

The saga is being closely watched in the City, with Liberum Capital analyst Ben Davis warning that in "a year plagued by strike action, the platinum industry has reached an important juncture. The key outcome will be decided by how [Amplats] chooses to engage with the unions and whether they use this as the opportunity to shut down higher-cost operations."

Anglo American dug down to the bottom of the benchmark index. It lost 38.5p at 1,827.5p. Lonmin has had its own issues to deal with since the ending of its strike. Xstrata directors have been attempting a management coup there. Xstrata, which is merging with commodities giant Glencore, is the largest shareholder of Lonmin, and does not want to contribute to the planned rights issue unless it can change the current executive team.

Mr Davis added: "We maintain a sell on Lonmin because, despite the troubles it has already faced, there are plenty more to come, such as how Xstrata chooses to participate in the rights issue... we suspect they will but will again try to leverage their position."

But Lonmin has rejected its reverse takeover proposal. Its shares gained 27.9p to 483.2p while Xstrata lost 14.3p to 956p.

The FTSE 100 index failed to hold on to early gains after concerns over the United States budget deficit and the continuing euro crisis weighed it down, and it ended 2.41 points lower at 5767.27.

But it wasn't all bad news. Advertising giant WPP was boosted by news from its French peer Publicis that advertising rebounded in October. WPP gained 3p to 811p.

Banks were in favour and Lloyds Banking Group got an upgrade from analysts at UBS, who raised their share price target from 44p to 46p. Lloyds moved up 1.53p to 45.1p.

But another unhappy update came in from Victoria, the carpet maker that has been hit by a long-running family feud. Yesterday it said it would "break even at best" this year and has instigated a "detailed review". Its shares lost 35p to 210p.

Over on AIM San Leon Energy's shares fell 1.23p to 8.36p after it agreed an all-share merger with Aurelian, which values Aurelian at £61.1m.

AIM company Nostra Terra announced its first oil sales for its Chisholm Trail Prospect and it trickled up 0.005p to 0.42p.

FTSE 100 Risers

Admiral Group 1,092p (up 38p, 3.61 per cent) The insurance group was up for the second day after analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch raised their rating to buy last Friday.

Polymetal International 1,149p (up 35p, 3.142 per cent) The Russian precious metals miner said it had seen an increase in gold reserves, up 7 per cent to 15.3 million ounces, reversing previous declines for the group.

FTSE 100 Fallers

G4S 248.7p (down 4.7p, 1.85 per cent) The security firm continued to suffer after more bad news last week when it lost prison contract work. Yesterday analysts at Morgan Stanley downgraded their rating to equal weight and cut their target price for the shares to 280p.

BG Group 1,040p (down 16.5p, 1.56 per cent) The gas company's share price continued to suffer after its production warning last week.

FTSE 250 Risers

Interserve 375.1p (up 8.0p, 2.18 per cent) The support services and construction company was boosted by its second-half results that were in line with expectations. It has won more than £500m of work in the half year including from the Ministry of Justice and the Department for Education.

Avocet Mining 66p (up 2.5p, 3.94 per cent) The miner joined Lonmin at the top of the mid-cap index.

FTSE 250 Fallers

Cobham 190.6p (down 20.4p, 9.67 per cent) The British aerospace and defence supplier said there is uncertainty in the near term but reassured investors that it anticipates it will return to modest organic growth from 2014.

Invensys 221.3p (down 13.4p, 5.71 per cent) Analysts at UBS cut their rating for the technology systems group to neutral from buy with a price target of 255p, from 280p.

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