Banks boost FTSE on quiet day

It was a surprisingly quiet day for corporate news, but banking stocks provided positive momentum for the blue-chip index.

Natwest owner Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), high street bank Lloyds (LLOY) and Barclays (BARC) jumped by up to 2%.

Primark owner Associated British Foods (ABF) also rose by over 1%.

West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude oil both slid 0.4% lower to $53 and $55.75 per barrel, respectively.

Gold nudged higher to $1,225 per ounce and copper was stable at $6,018 per tonne.

UK unemployment remained at an 11-year low, as there were 1.6 million people out of work.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones closed 0.4% higher on Tuesday.

Asia’s largest index, the Nikkei 225, advanced 1% on a weaker yen, which was good news for exporters in the country.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 1.2%, while the SSE Composite in Shanghai nudged lower.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

Copper miner Anglo American’s (AAL) subsidiary Anglo American Platinum contributed $100m less in earnings to the company at the end of last year, compared to 2015.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

Budget coach services Stagecoach (SGC) sold its interest in the Twin America joint venture for an undisclosed sum. It principally operates sightseeing bus services in New York.

Financial broker NEX Group (NXG), formerly ICAP, struggled despite posting an 11% increase in revenue for its third quarter as Donald Trump’s election as US President sparked more trading activity. It warned it was too early to assume a period of subdued market conditions was at an end.

Defence business QinetiQ (QQ.) confirmed trading in its third quarter was in line with expectations and was positive concerning future growth.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Shares in Australian-focused oil and gas firm Falcon Oil & Gas (FOG) shot up 40%. Figures produced by partner Origin Energy suggested its acreage in the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo basin could contain as much as 496 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Veterinary medicines supplier Animalcare Group (ANCR) reported underlying profit rose by over a fifth to £1.9m in the second half of 2016.

Micro-cap investor in the natural resources sector Polemos (PLMO) raised £495,000 through a discounted placing. Its shares plummeted 26.3%.

Software developer for rail operators Tracsis (TRCS) disappointed investors with slower sales as some are expected to take place in the second half of 2017, instead of the first half of the year. The stock fell by 11.8% to 409.8p on the bad news.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com