FTSE opens lower as Dixons Carphone flops

London stocks opened mildly lower with Dixons Carphone (DC.) leading blue chips lower ahead of the much-anticipated US Federal Funds Rate call later tonight.

Dixons Carphone (DC.), down 4.06% to 351.8p, warned on uncertain times ahead as it reported a strong H1 with headline pretax profit up 19% at £144m.

It was followed by several miners captained lower by Antofagasta (ANTO), lower 3.66% to 711.5p.

Also softening were US rates-sensitive utilities, with SSE (SSE) down 1.44% to 1503p and Centrica (CNA) softening 1.38% to 218.05p.

At 8.37am, WTI crude was down 1.13% to $52.38/bbl and Brent was down 1.01% to $55.16/bbl. Gold was up 0.43% to $1164/oz, with silver and copper ahead, too.

Soon after the open, FTSE 100 was down 17.18 points, or 0.25%, to 6951.39, while FTSE 250 was down 42.71, or 0.24%, to 17,672.9.

Other stocks notably lower included house builders, pharmas, consumer goods and multiple financials, with others in the latter sector making mostly mild gains.

Micro Focus (MCRO), up 3.03% to 2194.5p, has lifted its H1 pretax profit by 14.6% to $113.2m, from $98.8m a year ago. Dividend per share was 29.73 cents, up 75.5% from 16.94 cents.

Supermarkets were guided north by Sainsbury (SBRY), ahead 1.42% to 249.3p, while airlines accelerated behind easyJet (EZJ), rising 1.47% to 1003.5p. Several banks and commercial property outfits made progress, too.

BIGGER MOVERS

TP Group (TPG), up 21.95% to 6.25p, said the business performance in FY 2016, in terms of EBITDA, is likely to significantly exceed current market expectations. In addition, it expects the outturn for FY 2017, in terms of EBITDA, will be materially ahead of current market views.

Amur Minerals (AMC), up 19.57% to 11p, said drill results from the Maly Kurumkon/Flangovy deposit in 2016 had identified both open pit and underground mineable thicknesses and grades suitable for the definition of JORC reserves.

Sphere Medical (SPHR), up 9.86% to 9.75p, announces the launch today of Proxima 4 in Europe. The launch of the next generation product Proxima 4 follows the successful European launch of Proxima 3 in September 2014.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Idox (IDOX), down 9.1% to 63.63p, has posted a 15% rise in FY pretax profits and announced it has made a conditional voluntary offer to acquire 6PM Holdings.

Webis Holdings (WEB), up 9.62% to 1.43p, said its Advanced Deposit Wagering (ADW) business, WatchandWager.com LLC, received a license approval from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on Dec. 13, with immediate effect and throughout 2017.

Burford Capital (BUR), up 8.13% to 519p, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire GKC Holdings, the parent of Chicago-based Gerchen Keller Capital, for $160m in cash, shares and loan notes, plus a further potential $15m in performance-based share consideration.

IQE (IQE), up 7.51% to 37.63p, said it is on track to deliver FY revenue and adjusted operating profit ahead of expectations.

boohoo.com (BOO), up 6.6% to 126.13p, has acquired 66% of PrettyLittleThing for a cash consideration of £3.3m. MediaZest (MDZ), down 6.45% to 0.15p, has reduced its H1 pretax loss to £71,000, from a loss of £75,000. Revenue was £1.47m, from £1.61m.

Audioboom (BOOM), down 5.88% to 2p, expects overall 2016 revenues to exceed £1.3m, an increase of more than sixfold compared to last year, and ahead of market expectations. Tungsten (TUNG), up 5.16% to 53.63p, has materially improved its H1 pretax loss to £3.08m, from a loss of £12.04m. Revenue was £15.54m, from £12.98m.

Plant Health Care (PHC), up 5.44% to 14.63p, announces four new commercial distribution arrangements, together representing key progress in driving sales growth in 2017 and beyond. Loxam (LVD), up 4.76% to 231p, has agreed a 220p-a-share cash offer for Lavendon that values the group at about £374.0m.

SysGroup (SYS), up 3.88% to 53.5p, has widened its H1 pretax loss to £551,000, from a loss of £228,000. It added that subsidiary Netplan Internet Solutions Ltd has been appointed by Epicor as the sole UK and Ireland authorised partner for Epicor BisTrack.

Other stocks in the news included Wood Group (WG.), Orogen Gold (ORE), Hunters (HUNT), Savannah Petroleum (SAVP), Empiric Student Property (ESP), Tethyan (TETH), Victoria (VCP), FreeAgent (FREE), Invesco Asia Trust (IAT), CentralNic (CNIC) and Versarien (VRS).

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