Mind Gym PLC (LON:MIND) had a splitting headache in late-afternoon as a coronavirus inflicted profit warning sent the shares tumbling 21.9% to 125p.

The AIM-listed firm, which provides workplace training services, said following the end of January it had experienced “a material impact on revenues” from the outbreak and as the virus spread to more regions it had “observed an increased number of cancellations of booked sessions from clients and a material reduction in new bookings”.

As a result of what the company said was a “sudden fall in revenues” so close to the end of its current financial year, it now expected growth to be below its previous expectations for the year at between 10-15% growth.

1.00pm: LiDCO lifted by surge in Chinese demand for heart monitoring technology

A rare riser on the markets was LiDCO Group PLC (LON:LID), which surged as the company said the coronavirus outbreak had led to a surge in demand for its heart monitoring technology in China.

The AIM-listed company said its distribution partner in China, Beijing Gloryway Medical, had sold a small number of its monitors in Wuhan, where the virus originated, as a direct result of the epidemic.

LiDCO said the purchase will provide additional intensive care monitoring capabilities to treat the most acute cases of the infection, which has now infected over 100,000 people worldwide.

12.05pm: Oiler dominate fallers

Oil companies dominate the fallers as the market continues to react to the collapse of the OPEC+ cartel and the ensuing plunging price of crude prices. 

Rockhopper Exploration PLC (LON:RKH), Seplat Petroleum PLC (LON:SEPL), I3 Energy (I3E) and Lekoil Ltd (LON:LEK) are the biggest percentage fallers.

Among the mid-caps, Cairn Energy PLC (LON:CNE) is down 20%, suggests that traders are not so sure mid-cap players can take this on the chin either.

Likewise, oilfield support services providers are also under the cost, with Hunting PLC (LON:HTG), John Wood Group PLC (LON:WG.) and Petrofac PLC (LON:PFC) down in by high-teens percentages.

10.30am: Premier Oil and Tullow Oil plunge as Saudi Arabia starts crude price war

Premier Oil PLC (LON:PMO) and Tullow Oil PLC (LON:TLW) were London’s two biggest fallers, down 55% and 33% respectively, as oil prices tanked.

“Saudi Arabia has declared war on their Russian OPEC+ partners,” according to Joshua Mahony at IG Group.

Fortunately, this is not a military war that Saudi Arabia has declared; rather it is an oil price war, with Saudi Arabia announcing it would cut its oil prices while increasing production by as much as 20%.

“In the largest one-day drop since the 1991 Gulf War, oil prices fell by as much as 30% due to the threat of a price war between oil exporting group OPEC and its main ally Russia,” reported SP Angel.

Bjarne Schieldrop, the chief commodities analyst at Nordic investment bank, SEB, said the Saudis have “created a race to the bottom to sell Crude into the market”.

“Saudi Arabia basically offered its oil on a fire-sale as it dropped its Official Selling Prices (OSPs) to all regions by $6-8/Bbl – the sharpest decline in Saudi Arabia’s OSPs in decades. Saudi Arabia is undercutting everyone else by a mile, and as such it has created a race to the bottom where everyone must undercut each other in order to be able to sell their crude oil into the market.

“In a market where demand is collapsing due to the unfolding coronavirus outbreak, the only way to push more oil into the market is to push it into storage. To achieve this, producers must offer their physical oil at a large discount to longer-dated prices so that the difference can pay for the storage of the oil surplus, i.e. spot crude oil prices needs to be very low versus longer-dated prices.

“Several OPEC ministers have stated that further discussions will take place in the coming days and weeks in the run-up to the end of the current production-cut agreement in March, so there could still be a slight hope for a deal. Saudi Arabia’s announcement of an oil fire-sale might be a negotiation tactic. If this ends with an outright price war with a large production increase against collapsing demand (due to the coronavirus), then oil will fall even more than we have seen this morning,” Schieldrop predicted.

Proactive news headlines

Faron Pharmaceuticals Oy (LON:FARN, First North:FARON) said the US regulator has accepted the protocol design for a trial of Traumakine, a treatment for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

Open Orphan PLC’s (LON:ORPH) hVIVO virology and vaccine operation has begun the world’s first human coronavirus challenge study. hVIVO owns Europe’s only quarantine clinic with an onsite virology lab where the challenge model will be developed and used.

Bahamas Petroleum Company PLC (LON:BPC) has agreed to extend the deadlines attached for its £10.25mln loan note offering, as the explorer continues to advance towards the start of drilling for the Perseverance-1 well.

Union Jack Oil PLC (LON:UJO) has agreed to acquire an additional 35% of the Keddington oil field, which currently yields around 28 barrels of oil per day.

Tower Resources PLC (LON:TRP) has raised £500,000 in a share placing to provide working capital as it awaits the completion of a farm-out agreement for its Thali block in Cameroon.

Diversified Gas & Oil PLC (LON:DGOC) chief executive Rusty Hutson has described 2019 as a significant year with multiple key milestones reached and exiting with production of around 94,800 barrels oil equivalent per day.

Bushveld Minerals Ltd (LON:BMN) has signed a joint venture agreement with redT energy PLC (LON:RED) to form a vanadium financing partnership to supply vanadium electrolyte for third party-owned vanadium redox flow batteries in projects developed by redT.

Greatland Gold PLC (LON:GGP) is to step up exploration at its Paterson licences in Western Australia after establishing Havieron as a significant gold-copper discovery.

An Oriole Resources PLC (LON:ORR) subsidiary has secured US$2.5mln in investment from American Minerals Exploration & Development Fund III.

Live Company Group PLC (LON:LVCG) has signed an agreement with publisher Frederick Warne & Co to produce a BRICKLIVE tour themed around characters from the Peter Rabbit book series by Beatrix Potter.

VR Education Holdings PLC (LON:VRE) is to virtually host the 2020 HTC Vive Ecosystem Conference via its ENGAGE platform.

AFC Energy PLC (LON:AFC) has appointed Tom Pollard, an experienced electric vehicle (EV) charge point executive in the UK, as its national EV sales manager.