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.


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%.


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.


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.).


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


Claim 12 issues of MoneyWeek (plus much more) for just £12!

Let MoneyWeek show you how to profit, whatever the outcome of the upcoming general election.

Start your no-obligation trial today and get up to speed on:

  • The latest shifts in the economy…
  • The ongoing Brexit negotiations…
  • The new tax rules…
  • Trump’s protectionist policies…

Plus lots more.

We’ll show you what it all means for your money.

Plus, the moment you begin your trial, we’ll rush you over THREE free investment reports:

‘How to escape the most hated tax in Britain’: Inheritance tax hits many unsuspecting families. Our report tells how to pass on up to £2m of your money to your family without the taxman getting a look in.

‘How to profit from a Trump presidency’: The election of Donald Trump was a watershed moment for the US economy. This report details the sectors our analysts think will boom from Trump’s premiership, and gives specific investments you can buy to profit.

‘Best shares to watch in 2017’: Includes the transcript from our roundtable panel of investment professionals – and 12 tips they’re currently tipping. The report also analyses key assets, including property, oil and the countries whose stock markets currently offer the most value.