FTSE rises on banks and mining stocks

High street banks were among the FTSE 100 risers ahead of the Bank of England’s interest rate decision tomorrow and the US Federal Reserve’s own decision on rates tonight.

Miners maintained their rally thanks to positive Chinese data this week.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) was boosted by 7.7% as investors focused on a positive outlook and a hike in the dividend and chose to overlook a decline in 2016 operating profit.

West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude oil jumped at least 1.4% to $48.55 and $51.63 per barrel, respectively.

Gold fell 0.2% to $1,198 per ounce and copper climbed 0.8% to $5,842 per tonne.

OVERSEAS MARKETS

In the US, the Dow Jones and S&P 500 opened approximately 0.2% higher ahead of the Federal Reserve’s US interest rate decision. Over the last week, investors speculated the interest rate will be increased.

Asian markets were subdued on Wednesday with no significant movements as investors waited for the Federal Reserve’s decision, as well as any hints on any future action.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

Pharma giant Astrazeneca (AZN) announced that results from the Phase 3 trial of its ovarian cancer treatment Lynparza demonstrated a ‘significant improvement in progression-free survival’. However, this failed to move the share price at £48.63.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

Commercial property specialist LondonMetric Property (LMP) agreed the sale of three retail parks in Christchurch, Bedford and Maidstone for a combined £60.9m. The market’s response was subdued as the stock was flat at 151.5p.

Scandal-hit Sports Direct (SPD) announced a media story that claimed its chief executive-to-average employee ratio of 400:1 was ‘fake news’, although this didn’t stop the stock from nudging lower.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Miner Gem Diamonds (GEMD) retreated 5% as it posted 2016 pre-tax profit declined 47% to $52.4m after mothballing the Ghagoo mine in Botswana due to a fall in diamond prices.

AIM-listed BlueRock Diamonds (BRD) announced its new crushing and screening operation will significantly help it to meet production targets and reduce running costs per tonne. The shares gained 17.6% on the news.

Metals Exploration (MTL) cautioned that mining and processing operations are ramping up slower than expected due to incessant rainfall and other factors, which restricted the mining of waste materials. Management said this adversely impacted the grade and sulphur content of ore available for processing. Investors were clearly disappointed as the stock fell 13.6%.

Oil producer Premier Oil (PMO) surged 16% as it locked in a final convertible bondholder to its proposed refinancing.

Mobile phones app store Mobile Streams (MOS) warned on full year earnings and revenue thanks to difficult trading conditions in Argentina, causing investors to mark the stock 12% lower.

Shares in micro-cap US oil producer Magnolia Petroleum (MAGP) soared 37.9% after it unveiled a 112% increase in oil reserves and 303% increase in natural gas reserves.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com