Max Petroleum (LSE: MXP) crashes, and the miners follow suit.
After an unusually resilient week for the FTSE 100 (UKX) this week, the London index of top shares opened sharply down today, falling 56 points, or 1%, by mid-morning, to stand on 5,510 points. The spur seems to be Moody's downgrading of 15 major banks late yesterday, including the UK's Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS), Barclays (LSE: BARC), HSBC Holdings (LSE: HSBA) and Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY), which knocked the shine off the week's rising eurozone optimism.
European indexes suffered similarly, with the French CAC 40 and the German DAX both also down around 1%, to 3,093 and 6,278 points respectively.
It was largely a down day for individual shares, too, with quite a few early fallers...
Max Petroleum (LSE: MXP) saw a mammoth 51% slashed off its shares, which fell 4.5p to 4.2p after announcing its drilling rig has become stuck for the second time at its NUR-1 well in Kazakhstan.
FTSE 100 miners continued to fall in early trading, with Antofagasta (LSE: ANTO) down 25p (2.3%) to 1,055p, BHP Billiton (LSE: BLT) down 43p (2.4%) to 1,776p, Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO) down 38.5p (1.3%) to 2,962p, Xstrata (LSE: XTA) down 16.5p (2%) to 823p, and Anglo American (LSE: AAL) down 26.5p (1.3%) to 2,075p.
Aquarius Platinum (LSE: AQP) continued its slide from yesterday, after mothballing one of its mines, to fall a further 5% to 51p, while Fortune Oil (LSE: FTO) had 3% lopped off its price, falling to 9.4p, Vedanta Resources (LSE: VED) lost 33p (3.5%) to 897p and Tullow Oil (LSE: TLW) dropped 50p (3.4%) to 1,431p.
Marks & Spencer (LSE: MKS) also fell, by 9.9p to 327p for a fall of 3%, on no real news.
Clean Air Power (LSE: CAP) also lost in an absence of news, falling 10% to 11p.
But not all bad...
But it wasn't all bad news, as SkyePharma (LSE: SKP) enjoyed an early 6% boost. Its shares rose 4p to 73p after the drug delivery specialist announced a successful phase III result for clinical studies on its KRP-108 product.
And Independent News & Media (LSE: INM), which announced its intention to delist from the New Zealand stock exchange (while retaining London and Dublin listings) earlier in the week, gained 6.6% to reach €0.24.
As always, this morning's news saw some winners and losers -- and perhaps some buying opportunities. For more share ideas, the Motley Fool's "Top Sectors For 2012" report outlines some attractive companies within three favourable industries. The report is free to all private investors -- and you can download your copy now.
The Motley Fool is helping Britain invest. Better. And with the economy so uncertain, we're urging everyone to read "10 Steps To Making A Million In The Market" -- it may transform your wealth. Click here now to request your free, no-obligation copy.
Further investment opportunities:
> Alan Oscroft does not own any share mentioned in this article.