FTSE opens mildly negative on house builders, miners

London stocks got off to a mildly negative start as falls among UK house builders, miners and financials weighed on proceedings.

The market is assessing a Supreme Court case relating to royal prerogative and Brexit, along with Italy’s referendum on constitutional reform.

Barratt Developments (BDEV) fell 2.71% to 460.85p, while Persimmon (PSN) eased 2.05% to 1669p and Taylor Wimpey (TW.) dropped 1.48% to 149.35p. Among miners, Anglo American (AAL) faded 2.11% to 1216.75p, while Glencore (GLEN) dropped 1.47% to 285.98p.

BHP Billiton (BLT), down 2% to 1312.75p, submitted the winning bid to acquire a 60% participating interest in and operatorship of blocks AE-0092 and AE-0093 containing the Trion discovery located offshore Mexico.

Soon after the open, FTSE 100 was down 13.32 points, or 0.2%, to 6733.51, while FTSE 250 was down 48.91, or 0.28%, to 17,412.9. At 8.38am, WTI crude was down 1.1% to $51.22/bbl and Brent was down 0.96% to $54.41/bbl. Gold was down 0.25% to $1173.5/oz.

Meantime, among the roughly 73 blue-chip losers were financials after Provident Financial (PFG), down 1.3% to 2814p, and Direct Line (DLG), down 1.21% to 347.15p. Other sectors notably lower included pharmaceuticals, oil and several supermarkets.

To the limited upside, the story was utilities and banks. HSBC (HSBA) rose 2.7% to 643.6p, while SSE (SSE) rose 1.6% to 1493.5p. Several commercial property stocks figured northbound after Land Securities (LAND), up 1.45% to 962.75p.

Ashtead Group (AHT), up 0.94% to 1554.5p, reports a a strong first half results with underlying operating profits up 9% at £474.4m. On a statutory basis, revenues were up 8% at £1,551.7m and pre-tax profits rose by 9% to £413.3m.

Wolseley (WOS), down 1.05% to 4637p, reports in an interim management statement that its total Q1 revenue rose 22.9% to £4.4m, from £3.6m. Its trading profit in the period rose 21.2% to £303,000, from £250,000.

BIGGER MOVERS

Plus500 (PLUS), down 33.81% to 338.25p, has been notified that JP Morgan Asset Management Holdings, and its controlled undertakings, have a total relevant interest in 6.9m shares, or 6.02% of the issued share capital.

Imagination Technologies (IMG), up 21.2% to 266.63p, has appointed Peter Hill CBE Non-executive Chairman with effect from 1 February 2017. It said the business is on track and restructuring nears completion.

Independent Resources (IRG), down 16.22% to 0.08p, has raised up to £766,596 of new finance by the placing of up to 958.2m new shares at 0.08p each. This included Brandon Hill Capital agreeing to subscribe for 333.2m of the placing shares in full and final settlement of £266,596 of indebtedness.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Imaginatik (IMTK), up 14.29% to 2p, said its H1 after-tax losses fell to £0.26m from £0.41m, despite adverse currency movements. The group said approximately half of the loss was attributable to adverse forex movements arising as a result of the strong US dollar.

Real Good Food (RGD), down 12% to 33p, has widened its H1 pretax loss to £949,000, from a year-ago loss of £216,000. Revenue was £49.95m, from £46.66m. Higher distribution costs, administrative expenses and significant costs were factors.

Dialight (DIA), up 8.87% to 761p, said it continues to make good progress implementing its strategy to fundamentally improve the group’s operating model and thus position itself for long-term, sustainable growth.

Victrex (VCT), up 7.11% to 1829.5p, said its FY pretax profit has slipped 6% to £100.3m, from £106.4m. Dividend per share was 46.82p, unchanged. Revenue was lower at £252.3m, from £263.5m.

Ultra Electronics (ULE), down 3.29% to 1941p, said its FY trading performance remains in line with expectations. “There continues to be an improvement in organic trading performance year-on-year and recent acquisitions are performing well,” it said.

Image Scan (IGE), up 3.92% to 6.63p, swung back into profit in the year to the end of September – its its first profit since FY2012. 600 Group (SIXH), down 3.9% to 9.25p, has seen its H1 pretax profit slip lower to £1.4m, from £1.6m. Revenue was £23.2m, from £23.3m.

RWS Holdings (RWS), up 3.82% to 312.5p, has lifted its FY pretax profit to £25.1m, from £20.7m. Revenue was £121.99m, from £95.22m. Final dividend was 4.45p a share, from 3.85p, taking the total up 15% to 5.6p, from 4.88p.

Thomas Cook Group (TCG), up 1.45% to 87.2p, said it will take full control of its UK retail store network, following notification by The Co-operative Group of the decision to exercise its option over its stake in their Joint Venture.

Other stocks in the news included Tissue Regenix (TRX), Hummingbird (HUM), Dewhurst (DWHT), Iomart (IOM), TLA Worldwide (TLA), Berkeley Energia (BKY), Vianet (VNET), Better Capital (BCAP), OMG (OMG), Hilton Food (HFG), MySQUAR (MYSQ) and Consort Medical (CSRT).

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