Cheap commodities drag miners lower

A slump in gold, copper and iron prices kept miners among the top fallers and prevented the FTSE 100 from gaining positive momentum.

The blue-chip index was flat at 7,348.

Brent crude oil rallied 1% to $55.81 per barrel.

OVERSEAS MARKETS

On Wall Street, investors were optimistic ahead of big banks JP Morgan and Citigroup’s latest financial results on Thursday.

Most Asian markets struggled on Monday with the exception of Japan’s Nikkei 225, which closed 0.7% higher.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

Resources giant BHP Billiton (BLT) was in demand as activist investor Elliot Management urged a further restructuring of its operations.

Elliot says this could lead to a 50% uplift in its valuation, triggering a 2.2% rise in the shares to £13.16 as the market expressed its confidence in the upbeat outlook.

Media reports over the weekend said Primark owner Associated British Group (ABF) would be looking for a new chairman to take the reins from Charles Sinclair after leading the firm for eight years. Shares in the brands colossus jumped 3.4% to £25.67.

Broker Numis recommended Hikma (HIK) as a ‘buy’ and said investors were overreacting to the US Food and Drug Administration blocking its rival Mylan’s generic asthma medicine.

Hikma said it is developing a generic alternative based on dry powder inhaler tech designed by Vectura (VEC). The stock advanced 3.3% to £19.47.

Anglo American (AAL) sold its Eskom-tied domestic thermal coal operations in South Africa to a wholly owned subsidiary of Seriti Resources.

High street Barclays (BARC) came under pressure as it emerged that its chief executive Jes Staley was under investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. According to reports, Staley tried to discover the identity of an internal whistleblower.

In a further bout of bad news, a secret recording that implicated the Bank of England in Libor rigging was uncovered by BBC Panorama. The news failed to move any of the bank stocks significantly.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

Support services business Carillion (CLLN) gained 0.5% to 219.7p on expectations that its first half results will meet management forecasts thanks to both revenue and earnings growth.

Media reports suggested Hong Kong billionaire Samuel Tak Lee is targeting a takeover of London landlord Shaftesbury (SHB) after acquiring £500m worth of shares. The real estate investment trust, owner of Carnaby Street and parts of Chinatown and Soho, jumped 3.8% to 953.5p.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Activist investor Alexander Anton said he wants to kick out toy maker Hornby (HRN) chairman Roger Canham and take his place. He set a general meeting to discuss the proposal, which is supported by the group’s second largest shareholder New Pistoia Income.

On AIM, MobilityOne (MBO) was top dog after sealing a partnership agreement with Mobility I Tap Pay to provide a mobile financial services platform for a bank in Bangladesh. Investors were excited about the potential of the deal as the stock soared 100% to 6.5p.

Back in the mining sector, Strategic Minerals (SML) gained 15.6% to 1.5p as it secured a new offtake agreement for its Cobre magnetite tailings dam project in New Mexico. Management said this was ‘likely to materially boost’ its profitability.

Investors toasted Bacanora Minerals’ (BCN) strategic partnership with Japan-based trading business Hanwa as it enjoyed a 9.6% advance to 91p.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com