Weak commodity prices drag miners lower

The FTSE 100 was flat as commodity prices hit mining stocks in a quiet day for corporate updates ahead of Christmas.

Gold and silver miner Fresnillo (FRES) was the one of the biggest blue chip fallers with a 0.9% decline to £11.

Industrial metals producer Antofagasta (ANTO) suffered as iron ore came under pressure thanks to uncertainty over China infrastructure spending. BHP Billiton (BLT) dipped lower, while Rio Tinto (RIO) was flat on the news.

Brent crude oil gained 1% to $55.45 and West Texas Intermediate crude oil slipped higher to $52.35 per barrel, respectively.

Gold declined 0.6% to $1,133 per ounce and copper suffered a similar fall to $5,467 per tonne.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

UK banking group Lloyds (LLOY) announced the £1.9bn acquisition of credit card outfit MBNA. There were rumours that Lloyds was considering a bid for Bank of America’s UK MBNA operation and shares traded 2.8% higher on confirmation of the approach at 64.3p.

Lloyds’ share of the UK credit card market will increase from 15% to 26% if the deal is approved by regulatory authorities.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

Paysafe (PAYS) launched a share buyback programme of up to £100m to stave off short-sellers, who posed risks to the payment service provider’s business model.

Construction group Kier (KIE) was awarded a 15-year contract valued at £140m for repair and maintenance services on Area 13 of the Highways England network, but its shares remained flat.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Shares in spatial data company 1Spatial (SPA) crashed 28.2% to 1.9p on guidance for an adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation loss for the year to 31 January 2017. The firm blamed the timing of certain key contracts falling into the next financial year.

Provexis (PXS) reported positive results from its pilot study of its heart-health functional food ingredient Fruitflow. The results indicated that a 150mg dose of the ingredient in powder form significantly lowered the average 24-hour systolic blood pressure compared to a placebo. The market was keen to invest, pushing the stock 22.8% higher.

Pharmaceutical company Ixico (IXI) reported its operating loss more than doubled to £2.9m in the year to 30 September. The stock plummeted 20% to 29.9p.

Arian Silver (AGQ) excited investors with its preliminary exploration of work at its Los Campos project. It said the area might host significant gold and silver, triggering a 11.7% rise to 0.6p.

Bacanora (BCN) announced it was in advanced discussions with a significant Asian offtake partner for the supply of battery grade lithium carbonate.

Silence Therapeutics (SLN) and its licensee Quark Pharmaceuticals resolved a milestone payment dispute. Under the agreement, Silence will receive a $1m cash payment and a set amount of milestone payments or royalties.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com