FTSE 100 an ace ahead on mixed bag

London equities are mixed to midday with the blue-chip ladder up and the mid-cap down, albeit both broadly flat. The top-100 index’s minor rise was due to a blend of rising pharmas, leisure, consumer goods and property.

To noon, FTSE 100 was up 4.02 points, or 0.06%, to 7015.66, while FTSE 250 fell 18.57, or 0.1%, to 17,766.2.

Hikma (HIK), up 2.51% to 1837p, led blue chips and pharmas higher, and was chased by BT Group (BT.A), ahead 1.9% to 373.98. Also up was Smith & Nephew (SN.), rising 0.8% to 1192.5p.

Leisure was led by Merlin (MERL), up 1.67% to 445.7p, with TUI (TUI) ahead 0.72% to 1117p. Commercial property followed Hammerson (HMSO), up 0.86% to 558.25p, while residential chased Persimmon (PSN), up 1.23% to 1727p.

Consumer goods was piloted by Unilever (ULVR), up 1.4% to 3196.25p, with Reckitt Benckiser (RB.) firming 0.91% to 6674.5p. Shell (RDSA) and BP (BP.) both made gains, too.

BP (BP.), up 0.7% to 493.15p, has agreed a deal with Kosmos Energy to partner on world-class discoveries in Mauritania and Senegal and been awarded a 10% interest in Abu Dhabi’s ADCO onshore concession.

At 11:43am, WTI crude was up 0.6% to $52.21/bbl and Brent was up 0.6% to $55.54/bbl. Gold was ahead 0.35% to $1141.4/oz, but silver fell 0.59% to $ 16.12/oz and copper dropped 1.48% to 252.65 cents a pound. Three-month industrial metals were mostly lower.

Unsurprisingly, several miners figured to the downside behind Antofagasta (ANTO), off 1.38% to 660.75p, and BHP Billiton (BLT), lower 1.3% to 1288p.

Financials also figured southbound in the wake of Barclays (BARC), off 1.56% to 224.6p, and Standard Chartered (STAN), falling 1.47% to 674.9p. A number of insurers also eased.

Multiple sectors figured on both the upside and downside, with blue-chip risers outnumbering losers 58 to 42.

BIGGER MOVERS

Canadian Overseas Petroleum (COPL), down 73.44% to 2.13p, announces the Mesurado-1 well operated by ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Liberia Ltd reached final total depth on Dec. 17. The well will be plugged and abandoned.

Arria NLG (NLG) fell 36.36% to 8.75p on news it is holding meetings on Jan. 6, 2017, to seek approval for the cancellation of trading on AIM of the Arria UK Shares and Quoted Warrants.

San Leon Energy (SLE), up 19.14% to 51.38p, notes the takeover speculation regarding the company and confirms that it has received an approach from a possible offeror, which may or may not lead to an offer being made.

SerVision’s (SEV) UK subsidiary, SerVision UK Ltd, has won two new customer orders for its IVG400-N system. Shares in SerVision (SEV) rose 14.29% to 2p. Collagen Solutions (COS), down 14.29% to 5.25p, has psoted an H1 pretax loss of £983,313, up from £356,537 last time.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Volga Gas (VGAS), down 6.73% to 48.5p, has updated on its drilling activities on a sidetrack to the Uzen #4 oil well. Beximco Pharmaceuticals (BXP), up 7.37% to 51p, has received approval for its Metformin Hydrochloride extended-release tablets (500 mg and 750 mg) from the US FDA.

Versarien (VRS), up 4.55% to 11.5p, announces an agreement with Fern Plastic Products Ltd to manufacture injection moulded products using graphene enhanced polyaryletherketone (PAEK) materials.

Mkango Resources (MKA), up 3.85% to 3.38p, has entered into a collaboration agreement with Noble Resources International, which will also allow Noble to acquire up to a 12.5% interest in Mkango.

WANdisco (WAND), up 3.8% to 205p, said that, via its OEM sales partnership with IBM, it has secured a significant contract win with a major automotive multinational. The agreement is valued at about $1m in royalties to be paid to WANdisco.

Bagir (BAGR), down 3.13% to 3.88p, intends to raise £1.97m via the issue of 56,326,220 new ordinary shares at 3.5p apiece. Solo Oil (SOLO), down 3.51% to 0.28p, said spudding of the Ntorya-2 appraisal well is expected in the next few days.

NWF Group (NWF), down 3.1% to 172p, reports that H1 trading was lower than the prior year as a result of a weaker first quarter, but has been better in recent months. Directors maintain their FY expectations in terms of performance and net-debt levels.

Scisys (SSY), up 1.85% to 110p, has signed a contract with Airbus DS GmbH in respect of the Payload Operations Centre (PLOC) for the MERLIN (Methane Remote Sensing LIDAR Mission) satellite’s LIDAR instrument.

IP Group (IPO), down 1.39% to 155.8p, portfolio company Ceres Power Holdings has signed a joint-development licence agreement to develop and launch a multi-kW combined heat and power product using its SteelCell technology with a leading global original equipment manufacturer.

Other stocks in the news included Clariant (82HN), GVC Holdings (GVC), Arbuthnot Banking (ARBB), Sirius Petroleum (SRSP), Brewin Dolphin (BRW), Mytrah Energy (MYT), Caledonia Investments (CLDN), WH Ireland (WHI), Asa Resource Group (ASA), IP Group (IPO), Tritax Big Box REIT (BBOX), Tri-Star Resources (TSTR), Aminex (AEX), Proactis Holdings (PHD), Saga (SAGA).

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