FTSE indices tacked south in early deals as market sentiment was dented by a heavily lower Wall St on yesterday's macro data, the Greek-debt soap and escalating violence in Yemen. In London, financial stocks bore the brunt of investor concerns. Asian markets were mixed.

Just after the open, FTSE 100 was down 40.8 points, or 0.58%, to 6950.17. FTSE 250 fell 177.8, or 1.02%, to 17,324.5. At 8.44am, WTI was up 5.95% to $52.14/bbl. Brent rose 5.21% to $59.42/bbl. FTSE 350 indices covering oil stocks were up more than 1%. That for general financials sagged 2.3%.

ARM Holdings (ARM) fell 4.04% to 1081.5p to lead blue-chips down. Otherwise financials dominated top-50 heavyweight fallers. Schroders (SDRC) fell 3.15% to 2494p, Hargreaves Lansdwon (HL.) fell 2.65% to 1175p, and Prudential (PRU) lost 2.53% to 1698p. Also southbound were several property outfits, and a number of supermarkets.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) lost 0.82% to 349.4p as it priced the 24.7% stake (135m shares) of Citizens Financial Group it is selling at $23.75 each. Gross proceeds would be $3.2bn, or $3.7bn if over-allotments were exercised. EasyJet (EZJ) eased 2.75% to 1838p despite expecting a forex boost levering its H1 performance ahead of earlier guidance.

Oil stocks were obvious beneficiaries as crude prices vaulted up on news Saudi Arabia has launched air strikes in Yemen against Iran-backed Shia Houthi rebels. Petrofac (PFC) chaired with a 3.85% gain to 1026p, with BP (BP.), Shell (RDSA) and others behind. Meantime, multiple miners sortied higher behind Vedanta (VED), up 3.32% to 575.5p.

BIGGER MOVERS

Arcontech (ARC), down 29.03% to 0.11p, has swung to an H1 pretax profit of ã116,932, from a loss of ã66,735. It warned the level of profitability this FY was uncertain due to a significant customer requesting early termination of a contract.

Metminco (MNC), up 17.24% to 0.34p, said having completed the re-logging of the drill core at Los Calatos current work there was focussed on completing a 3D Geological Model with specific reference to the anhydrite breccia systems known to contain significantly higher copper and molybdenum grades.

Oilex (OEX), up 15.79% to 2.75p, said it was pleased with construction progress at Cambay-73,which should enable the Joint Venture to commence production during May 2015. Overall progress of the project is 77% complete.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Scisys (SSY), down 10.16% to 84p, more than doubled its FY pretax profit to ã3.0m, from ã1.5m. Revenue was ã40.3m, from ã42.6m. It proposed a final dividend up 10% to 1.17p. Meantime, DFS Furniture (DFS), up 2.4% to 266.25p, has posted an H1 pretax loss of ã14.4m, from a loss of ã14.0m. Revenue was ã431.2m, from ã390.1m. Gross sales were up 10.5% to ã431.2m.

Safestyle UK (SFE), up 3.76% to 179.5p, has booked a FY pretax profit up 73% to ã16.4m, from ã9.5m. Revenue was ã136.0m, from ã124.8m. It recommended a final dividend of 6.2p, taking the total to 9.3p.

Henry Boot (BHY), down 3.32% to 229.13p, has posted a FY pretax profit of ã28.3m, up 54% on the year. It proposed a final dividend of 3.50p, from 3.15p, taking the total to 5.60p, from 5.10p). Elsewhere, Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), down 2.03% to 857.25p, is trading in line with its expectations and it outlook for the year is unchanged.

Polypipe (PLP), down 3.2% to 257.5p, has posted a FY profit of ã16.9m, from ã24.6m. Revenue rose ã327.0m, from ã300.8m. Its final dividend was 3p a share, while its interim dividend was 1.5p. Senior independent director Ron Marsh will become chairman on May 27.

Other stocks in the news included Science in Sport (SIS), KCOM Group (KCOM), Highcroft Investments (HCFT), M&C Saatchi's (SAA), Polymetal International (POLY), Seplat Petroleum Development Company (SEPL) and Personal Group (PGH).