London stocks are mildly firmer on gains in several miners and property stocks ahead of keenly anticipated UK inflation data out mid-morning, with sterling sensitive to any surprises in those official numbers.
Not long after the open, the FTSE 100 was up 11.39 points, or 0.15%, to 7360.33, while the FTSE 250 was up 42.52, or 0.22%, to 19,307.1. At 8.37am, gold was up 0.35% to $1258.3/oz, with silver a little up and copper a wafer lower.
Sterling was broadly flat. European equities indices were a little lower.
Gold-focused miners Randgold (RRS), up 1.49% to 7337.5p, and Fresnillo (FRES), up 1.26% to 1603p, led blue chips higher, with further support coming from gains in Rio Tinto (RIO), up 0.98% to 3294p, and Antofagasta (ANTO), up 0.85% to 858.25p.
Among property stocks, house builder Persimmon (PSN) rose 0.96% to 2199p, while commercial property was guided by British Land (BLND), up 0.81% to 651.25p. Both led other stocks in their respective sectors.
Also gaining were a number of pharma, insurance, financial and bank stocks. Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) led to the downside, falling 0.84% to 237p. It was followed by National Grid (NG.), down 0.66% to 1019.75p. More utilities followed.
Oil big hitters Shell (RDSA), up 0.01% to 2143.75p, and BP (BP.), up 0.07% to 470p, were little moved as, at 8.37am, WTI crude fell 0.23% to $52.96/bbl and Brent lost 0.16% to $55.89/bbl.
Investors are looking to UK consumer-price, retail-price and house-price indices updates from Office for National Statistics at 9.30am. Inflation has shaped up to be a key element of the post-Brexit vote economy, impacting sterling and therefore UK stocks.
Frontera Resources (FRR) rose 25% to 0.45p as it subsidiary Frontera Resources Georgia Corporation had filed a Notice of Feasibility of Commercial Production related to its operations in the country of Georgia.
Arian Silver Corp (AGQ) gained 18.42% to 0.9p after entering an option agreement to acquire three lithium exploration projects via Mexico subsidiary Compania Minera Estrella de Plata SA de CV (Arian Mexico).
Iofina (IOF) appreciated 13.99% to 10.88p as it confirmed it had performed well in Q1 despite challenges. Recent trends in the iodine market, including pricing and demand for iodine based goods, were encouraging and Iofina was well positioned to benefit from any price increases.
Applied Graphene (AGM) fell 16.05% to 170p after narrowing its H1 pretax loss to £2.1m, from a loss of £2.3m. Defenx (DFX) rose 10.75% to 118.5p as its FY operating profits, pre transaction costs, rose 88% to €1.84m. It noted a long-term strategic partnership with BV-Tech SpA.
Simigon (SIM), down 8.11% to 17p, said its FY pretax income came in lower, with revenue slipping, as it continued to cement its position as a prime contractor for major long-term simulation programmes. Pretax income was $292,000, from $1.6m. Revenue was $6.0m, from $6.9m.
Ironveld (IRON), up 7.14% to 3.75p, has signed two non-binding MoU with Siyanda Inkwali Smelting Services (Pty) Ltd to subscribe for shares to acquire a 100% interest in Siyanda Smelting and Refining (Pty) Ltd and a purchase agreement to acquire 70% of Power Alt (Pty) Ltd.
Victoria (VCP), up 6.04% to 482.5p, said group underlying profits before tax will be comfortably ahead of current consensus market expectations for the financial year ending 1 April 2017.
De La Rue (DLAR), up 5.97% to 656.5p, expected its FY underlying operating profit to be above the top end of the market consensus. Synectics (SNX), up 4.94% to 212.5p, has won a multi-million dollar contract to supply an integrated video and security management solution to a major Philippines casino.
Carclo (CAR), up 4.72% to 135.88p, has confirmed that following an anticipated strong H2 performance, it delivered good growth for the year to 31 March with trading in line with the board’s expectations.
JD Sports Fashion (JD.), up 4.03% to 423p, has posted record results with pretax profits for the 52 weeks to 28 January up 81% at £238.4m and headline profit before tax and exceptional items up 56% at £244.8m.
Other stocks in the news included Independent Oil & Gas (IOG), Immedia (IME), Vedanta (VED), 1pm (OPM), 1Spatial (SPA), City of London Investment Group (CLIG), Future (FUTR), Tethyan (TETH), Digital Barriers (DGB), XP Power (XPP), CloudCall (CALL), Savannah Petroleum (SAVP), Touchstar (TST) and Premier Asset Management (PAM).
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