FTSE consolidates early gains as miners zip higher

London equities consolidated their early gains in an overall quiet session that opens an abbreviated trading week between Christmas and New Year. Blue-chip miners are in particular northbound focus.

Soon after the open, FTSE 100 was up 27.72 points, or 0.39%, to 7095.89, while FTSE 250 rose 79.84, or 0.45%, to 17,989.40.

At 11.42am, gold was down 0.01% to $1138.70/oz, silver was down 0.59% to $15.90/oz and copper was lower 0.72% to 249.75 cents a pound. At 11.42am, WTI crude was up 0.48% to $54.16/bbl and Brent was up 0.64% to $56.45/bbl.

BHP Billiton (BLT) led with a 4.04% surge to 1308.25p, and was chased by Fresnillo (FRES), up 3.64% to 1152.5p, and Anglo American (AAL), up 3.42% to 1164p. More followed.

Oilies were also up with Shell (RDSA) gaining 0.78% to 2230.75p and BP (BP.) adding 0.69% to 506.45p. Several pharmas and financials also made gains, but several in the latter sector also tapered.

Airlines were in southbound focus after IAG (IAG), lower 2% to 448.05p, while easyJet (EZJ) lost 1.01% to 1024.5p.

Commercial property slipped behind Land Securities (LAND), down 1.26% to 1056.5p, while house builders eased after Persimmon (PSN), lower 1.1% to 1745.5p.

Blue-chip fallers were outnumbered by fallers 46 to 54. Several utilities, supermarkets and leisure stocks were also tapering mildly.

BIGGER MOVERS

Bellzone Mining (BZM), up 66.67% to 0.35p, said agreement has been reached with Hudson Global Group Ltd, which has a 61.93% shareholding, regarding the company’s working capital funding for 2017.

Graphene NanoChem (GRPH), up 29.73% to 12p, has announced a significant contract win with the receipt of its first commercial order and deployment of PlatDrill in China, tapping into the new burgeoning market for shale gas development in the south-west region of China.

Urals Energy (UEN), up 9.09% to 3p, said that, further to its announcement in August, the loan provided by Kamchatcomagroprombank (KKAPB) for the acquisition of Arctic Oil Company Ltd has now been repaid in full.

Nostra Terra (NTOG), up 2.63% to 1.95p, has announced the results of its internal reserves report for the Pine Mills oil field together with a strategy update.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Sports Direct International (SPD), up 2.39% to 278.90p, has entered into an agreement to sell its rights to the Dunlop brand and related wholesale and licensing businesses to Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd (SRI) for $137.5m cash.

Windar Photonics (WPHO), up 6.25% to 85p, announces an order of 5 WindEYE LiDAR units from an Indian IPP for immediate delivery.

Loxam has agreed an increased recommended all cash offer of 260 pence for Lavendon (LVD), up 2.48% to 263.88p. This follows a second increased offer of 251p per share announced by TVH on 23 December.

boohoo.com (BOO), up 2.74% to 135.88p, has agreed to acquire certain intellectual property assets from retailer Nasty Gal Inc for $20m.

Harworth Group (HWG), up 1.14% to 88.5p, has completed the sale of 43.71 acres at its flagship Logistics North development in Bolton to a leading company for £22.5m.

Mortice (MORT), up 0.53% to 94p, has posted an H1 pretax profit of $3.1m, which is up from a profit of $313,580 a year ago. Total income was $91.9m, from $51.2m.

Tullett Prebon (TLPR), up 0.07% to 420.40p, confirms that 310.3m new shares, or about 56% of its issued capital, will be issued to the shareholders of NEX Group (NXG), up 0.53% to 464.45p. This was in connection with Tullett Prebon’s acquisition of NEX’s global hybrid voice broking and information business.

Other stocks in the news included Tekcapital (TEK), Riverstone Energy Ltd (RSE), Intercede (IGP), Randall & Quilter Investment (RQIH), Georgia Healthcare (GHG), International Public Partnerships (INPP), Aurum Mining (AUR), TCS Group Holding (TCSA) and EFG Hermes (EFGD).

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