FTSE struggles to reach new highs

The closing price of the FTSE 100 nudged towards a new record high, but failed to reach it as the market was subdued on an uneventful end to the week.

Oil prices were flat with West Texas Intermediate at $48.76 and Brent crude oil around $52 per barrel.

Gold and copper fared a stronger streak at $1,230 per ounce and $5,908 per tonne.

OVERSEAS MARKETS

On Friday, the US stock markets were stable as investor sentiment failed to move the indices in either way.

In Asia, the markets focused on the G20 meeting in Germany as Japan’s Nikkei 225 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng were flat on Friday, while the Chinese index SSE Composite fell by 1%.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

Housebuilder Berkeley (BKG) excited the market as its pre-tax profit for the year to 30 April will be at the top end of market forecasts. It said the London and South East property market is returning to normal.

However, it reported a 16% decline in reservations year-on-year between August 2016 and February 2017. Berkeley’s share price rose 6% to £31.44.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

Tullow Oil (TLW) announced a $750m rights issue to help strengthen its balance sheet, although this will only partially fix its big debt problem. The oil and gas producer had $4.8bn net debt at the end of 2016. The stock tumbled 14.8% to 202p.

Despite a new contract with the US Air Force Civil Engineer Center, shares in Amec Foster Wheeler (AMFW) were 3% as it remains in a merger situation with Wood Group (WG.).

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

North River Resources (NRRP) announced it will leave the AIM market on 27 March, causing investors to sell out and the stock to fall 38.4%.

Stockbroker Panmure Gordon (PMR) received a 100p cash per share takeover offer from Middle Eastern investor and shareholder QInvest and Atlas Merchant. The offer was a 68% premium to last night’s closing price. Panmure soared 64.2% to 97.7p on the news.

Circassia Pharma (CIR) struck a deal to buy US commercial rights to two products from drugs giant AstraZeneca (AZN). It will see the latter business become a shareholder in Circassia and sent its shares 5.4% higher to 92p.

Henderson High Income Trust (HHI) announced it will acquire Threadneedle UK Select Trust (UKT) through a merger. Threadneedle said it struggled to close a large discount to net asset value, so it had to take action by combining forces with another investment trust.

Electronics group Laird (LRD) fell 34.7% as the price adjusted for a rights issue announced in February.

Marketing tech group Adgorithms (ADGO) won a ‘significant’ contract with one of the world’s largest nutrition, health and wellness companies. It reported the contract will generate at least $300,000 of annual software-as-a-service fees. The market liked the news, marking the stock 30% higher.

AIM-listed Ortac Resources (OTC) was re-issued with an underground mining permit by the District Mining Bureau in Banska Bystrica, triggering a share price rise of 19.2%.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com