US shares start on front foot ahead of Sunday vote


In contrast to London, US shares started on the front foot in New York with the Dow adding 24 points.

The S&P500 was up four points after it plummeted on Thursday - losing the most in five weeks.

The tech heavy Nasdaq was also seeing green - up six points to 4,266 as investors are somewhat in wait and see mode ahead of the key Crimea referendum this Sunday.

It will vote on whether to become part of Russia in a referedum, which Ukraine, the US and the EU say is illegal.

Sanctions against Russia have been threatened from the West if it doesn’t back down from annexing Crimea.

It comes against the backdrop of last minute talks in London between US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov about how to solve the ongoing crisis.

On the corporate front, Coach Inc was the biggest gainer on S&P, adding 3.2%, while Celgene Corp was the biggest loser - dropping 3.4%.

In the UK, FTSE 100 was down over 23%.

Aberdeen Asset Management (LON:ADN) tumbled 3.03%, while the biggest faller was British Airways owner IAG (LON:IAG), down 3.42%, with budget rival easyJet (LON:EZJ) losing 2.5% on rising fears the missing Malaysian airplane could have been subject to a terrorist attack.

On the mid-cap index, grocery delivery firm Ocado (LON:OCDO) slumped 5.13%. The company has a tie-up with supermarket chain Morrisons (LON:MRW), which yesterday announced a thumping loss alongside plans to restructure the business.

It also plans to invest heavily in dropping its prices, sparking fears about a possible supermarket price war.

Sports rights group Perform (LON:PER) fell 2.5% as Credit Suisse dropped its recommendation to ‘neutral’. 

On AIM, Boohoo.com (LON:BOO) made a sparkling stock market debut, climbing more than 50% to 76p, having listed at 50p.

That gives the online fashion group a market valuation just shy of £900 million.

The money raised - £300mln to be exact – will go towards speeding up its expansion programme and distribution facilities, as well as repaying the convertible loan notes held by existing shareholders.

Boohoo.com follows in the footsteps of Poundland and Pets at Home, which also went public this week.

AO World also enjoyed a rise on debut last month, while House of Fraser is also working on the blueprint for an IPO.

The optimists meanwhile lifted shares in Albemarle & Bond (LON:ABM) higher on hopes the embattled pawnbroker could yet avoid going under.

Leyshon Resources (LON:LRL) shot up over 36% after an update on its strategy. 

The company has been “actively pursuing and studying potential investment opportunities in the resources sector” and it says it has been in talks with prospective debt and equity financiers about these opportunities.

Leyshon said it “has been encouraged by the response regarding the level and types of funding that could be available”.

Savannah Resources lost almost 18% despite more testwork confirming the Jangamo project in Mozambique plays host to a “major heavy mineral system”.

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