London shares began on a mildly positive note with sterling making minor gains against the US dollar ahead of a raft of UK, European and US services purchasing-managers’ index (PMI) data.
Soon after the market opened, the FTSE 100 was up 28.44 points, or 0.39%, to 7350.26, and the FTSE 250 was up 36.59, or 0.19%, to 19,056.6. Key indices in Europe were very mildly firmer, although Germany’s Dax slipped by an ace.
Overall, blue-chip risers outnumbered fallers 63 to 37, and those leading the FTSE 100 included US rates-sensitive utilities after Centrica (CNA), up 2.4% to 219.45p, United Utilities (UU.), up 1.21% to 1002p, and Severn Trent (SVT), up 1.12% to 2393.5p.
The market is also looking ahead to tonight’s release of the latest US Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes.
Other blue-chips rising included miners such as BHP Billiton (BLT), up 2.13% to 1282.25p, Glencore (GLEN), up 1.38% to 324.63p, and Anglo American (AAL), up 1.15% to 1252.75p, as several industrial metals prices improved.
Rises in the price of crude oil helped BP (BP.), up 0.9% to 467.83p, and Shell (RDSA), up 1.11% to 2122.75p. DCC (DCC), up 1.89% to 7152.5p, said DCC Energy had agreed with Shell Gas (LPG) Holdings BV to acquire its liquefied petroleum gas business in Hong Kong and Macau based on an enterprise value of HK$1.165bn, or about £120m.
To the downside, house builders followed Taylor Wimpey (TW.), lower 1.06% to 192.25p, and Persimmon (PSN), off 0.95% to 2079p, down. Several pharma giants fell behind Astrazeneca (AZN), down 0.88% to 4911.5p, and Shire (SHP), down 0.7% to 4718.5p.
ConvaTec (CTEC) announced the U.S. launch of Foam Lite ConvaTec dressing, a light, flexible silicone foam dressing for managing low to non-exuding chronic and acute wounds.
Taihua (TAIH), down 20.56% to 2.13p, was convening a general meeting seeking shareholder approval to cancel its shares’ trading on AIM and to re-register the company as a private limited company.
Real Good Food (RGD), up 12% to 28p, has acquired an 84.33% interest in Brighter Foods for total consideration of up to £9m, on a cash and debt free basis. The deal was expected to be immediately earnings enhancing to the group.
Allied Minds (ALM) fell 16.8% to 217.15p would be undertaking a restructuring, reallocating capital and management resources across the portfolio and pipeline in line with its goal to accelerate commercialisation. This would result in discontinued funding for 7 subsidiaries.
Abzena (ABZA) fell 10.67% to 33.5p announcing its intention to raise about £25m in an accelerated bookbuild placing to expand further its service offering, capacity and capabilities.
Intercede (IGP), up 9.09% to 48p, said three contract orders — part of outstanding orders totalling £2m — were received by March 31, the end of the company’s FY. Styles & Wood (STY), down 8.56% to 427.5p, has warned that, after a review of its FY performance, directors expected group reported revenues to be about 9% below that for FY 2015.
HSS Hire (HSS), down 6.32% to 63p, said its FY revenues rose to £342.4m, from £312.3m. Adjusted pre-tax profits were flat at £5.8m. The group said it was a year of significant operational change and investment when the foundations were laid for sustainable profit growth.
McCarthy & Stone (MCS), down 5.68% to 174.5p, said it was on track to meet FY market expectations after its H1 pretax profit fell 25% amid trading constrained by a lower forward order book. H1 pretax profit was £21.8m, down from £29.0m.
Dart (DTG), up 4.48% to 548p, said it expected FY underlying pretax profits to be ahead of current market forecasts due to lower than anticipated winter losses. Firestone Diamonds (FDI), up 4.47% to 46.75p, has announced the recovery of its largest diamond to date, a 110 carat gem-quality light yellow diamond, at its Liqhobong diamond mine.
RedstoneConnect (REDS), up 3.45% to 1.5p, has announced the global roll-out of award-winning workspace management software solution OneSpace with UBM. Minoan (MIN), down 3.75% to 9.63p, said it was issuing 4.48m shares at 10.32p each and 3.42m shares at 10.59p each to settle certain existing liabilities.
Learning Technologies (LTG), up 3.41% to 45.5p, said its FY revenue increased 42% to £28.3m. Adjusted EBITDA rose to £7.7m, up 77% from £4.3m.
Other stocks in the news included Gooch & Housego (GHH), Liontrust Asset Management (LIO), Scholium (SCHO), Hollywood Bowl (BOWL), WS Atkins (ATK), FastForward Innovations (FFWD), Pan African Resources (PAF), Castleton Technology (CTP), Telford Homes (TEF), Range Resources (RRL), Etalon Group (ETLN), BOS Global (BOS), Galliford Try (GFRD) and Bovis (BVS).
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