Commodity stocks bolster the FTSE 100

The FTSE 100 was flat at 7,022 as commodity stocks gained momentum and the market looked ahead to a big week for US corporate earnings.

Antofagasta (ANTO), BHP Billiton (BLT) and Glencore (GLEN) traded up to 1.3% higher.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil nudged lower to $50.80, while Brent crude oil was flat at $51.83 per barrel, respectively.

Gold was stable at $1,265 per ounce and copper climbed 0.2% to $4,607 per tonne.


Shares in aerospace and defence firm Cobham (COB) crashed 17.2% to 133p on a profit warning as trading in the third quarter remained challenging and behind expectations. Management downgraded trading profit estimates for the full year by approximately £50m to between £255m and £275m.

South African miner Petra Diamonds (PDL) sparkled as it traded 5.2% higher at 147p on news of a 30% hike in first quarter production to 1,097,523 carats.


Avocet Mining (AVM) said bailiffs acting on behalf of ex-workers seized a gold shipment of approximately 1,400 ounces earlier this month to cover unpaid benefits. Shares in the miner plummeted 19.4% as no gold shipments will be made until SMB confirms it will not be intercepted by bailiffs.

Investment firm Legendary Investments (LEG) traded 35.4% higher at 0.19p after its investee company Virtual Stock Holdings was appointed by the Shelford Group to deploy its technology platform with NHS Trusts’ suppliers.

Investors were eager to buy in oil and gas explorer Frontera Resources’ (FRR) ahead of a campaign in Georgia, which will it expects will contribute to its year-end target pilot production rates of 2,200boe per day. The stock gained 20.6% to 0.1p.

Emergency services communications network specialist Sepura (SEPU) appointed Alan Lovell as chairman and David Barrass as interim CEO, but this failed to reassure investors after several profit warnings.

Investment trading platform Plus500 (PLUS) slid 5% lower as the market focused on lower average revenue per user (ARPU) data in the three months to 30 September. ARPU declined 28% to $1,107 in the third quarter, resulting in a 4% decline in revenue to $77.5m.

Data analytics specialist Fusionex (FXI) sparked 19% to 208.4p on a positive trading update as earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was expected to be ‘significantly ahead’ of market expectations for the year to September.

Technology business Crossrider (CROS) announced the $1 acquisition of device driver search service DriverAgent, a first bolt-on deal for Crossrider as it accelerated growth into online products and distribution.

Shares in McBride (MCB) were flat on an encouraging first quarter for the private label household and personal care products provider. Despite a decline in sales at constant currency, margins and costs continued to improve under CEO Rik De Vos’ turnaround strategy.

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