Banks boost FTSE

Banking stocks pushed the FTSE 100 into positive territory after Barclays (BARC) released strong third quarter results and the UK government cut its stake in Lloyds (LLOY) to below 9%.

Shares in Barclays gained 4.8% and Lloyds traded 2.9% higher.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Brent crude oil advanced over 1% each to $49.73 and $50.54 per barrel, respectively.

Gold glittered at $1,269 per ounce and copper climbed 0.6% to $4,740 per tonne.

The UK economy grew by 0.5% in the third quarter to September, compared with 0.7% in the three months to June, according to the Office for National Statistics.


Pension deficit issues failed to dampen Barclays’ (BARC) stock. Third quarter results showed core earnings in the nine months to 30 September were 4% higher year-on-year to £4.9bn.

Telecom giant BT’s (BT.A) £12.5bn takeover of mobile phone network EE helped to deliver a 35% increase in sales to £6bn and a 24% gain in adjusted operating profit at £1bn in the first half of 2016. However, investors were spooked as the company’s defined benefit pension obligation widened significantly.


Shares in Berendsen (BRSN) fell 16.3% to £10.30 following a profit warning which said cost overruns in its UK healthcare and hospitality businesses would mean profit expectations for the year to 31 December were likely to be missed. Operating profit was expected at around £160m, around £30m from earlier analyst estimates.

Engineer Amec Foster Wheeler (AMFW) slumped 20.4% to 465p on an uncertain outlook statement for 2017. The firm reported weaker performance in its oil and gas and solar markets and better contributions from mining and infrastructure.

Shares in department store Debenhams (DEB) are 3% higher on strong full year results as underlying pre-tax profits were up 0.5% to £114.1m on like-for-like sales growth, Net debt fell by nearly £41m to £279m.

Metal flow engineer Vesuvius (VSVS) said restructuring measures and a weaker pound improved trading profit in the third quarter to 30 September.

Trading solution provider Fidessa (FDSA) pleased investors with in-line trading and expectations to benefit from continued weakness in sterling, which will support cash generation and its dividend policy.

Kaz Minerals (KAZ) said full year silver production was expected to exceed its top end targets of 2,500koz to 2,750koz as a result of a lower than expected grade decline in the East Region this year.


Gold trading firm Wishbone Gold (WSBN) raised £400,000 through a discounted shares placing, which will be used for general working capital purposes and further investment.

Shares in Mineral and Financial Investment (MAFL) jumped 15.6% on an update on its investment in TH Crestgate’s activities. The Lagoa Salgada Lead-Zinc project in Portugal showed significantly higher indium and selenium content than expected, as well as previously identified zinc, lead, copper, silver and gold.

Total gold production at Avocet Mining (AVM) slumped from 17,694oz at a cash cost of $1,047 per ounce to 21,086oz at $903 per ounce, causing the miner to trade 30% lower.

Independent publishing house Bloomsbury (BMY) reported total revenues climbed by a nearly a fifth to £62.7m and said it expected a stronger second half as book sales tended to peak over the Christmas period.

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