Interest rate speculation boosts FTSE

Hints the US Federal Reserve is sufficiently confident in the state of the economy to raise interest rates this year pushed the FTSE 100 into the black.

The blue chip index gained 1.2% to 6,918.

Higher oil prices attracted investors to commodity stocks, including BHP Billiton (BLT) and Fresnillo (FRES). Randgold Resources led the blue-chip stocks, trading 3.9% higher.

Miners Polymetal (POLY) and Antofagasta (ANTO) climbed 2.4% and 3.1%, respectively.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil gained 1% to $45.81 and Brent crude oil climbed 0.9% higher to $47.26 per barrel, respectively.

Gold was flat at $1,326 per ounce while copper rose 1% to $4,784 per tonne.


Estate agency Countrywide (CWD) sold its entire stake in property website Zoopla (ZPLA) for £29.2 million.

Construction group Kier (KIE) firmed 3% to £13.18 as revenues jumped by a quarter to £4.2 billion in the 12 months to 30 June. Operating profits soared by 44% due to focus on housing and infrastructure.

Pubs operator Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) was up 2.4%, despite sales falling 0.8% in the 51 weeks to 17 September as rising wages and investment blunted margins. Better weather helped sales in the final eight weeks of the period climb 1.8% year-on-year.


Management Consulting (MMC) entered an agreement with Accenture for the sale of Kurt Salmon, comprising Kurt Salmon retail and consumer goods consulting businesses in the US, Canada, UK, Germany, China, Hong Kong and Japan for $165 million. The firm soared 39% to 23.63p.

Investors jumped ship after Xtract Resources (XTR) announced that underlying fundamentals and risk associated with the Chepica gold/copper mine in southern Chile were not supportive of continuing investment by the firm. It crashed 25% to 0.03p.

Armadale Capital (ACP) dropped 15.8% on news that it needs investment for the Mpokoto gold project, which may result in a diluted stake for the firm.

Driving monitoring systems supplier Seeing Machines (SEE) accelerated 24.1% to 4.5p following the introduction of its first generation FOVIO embedded hardware chip.

SKIL Ports & Logistics (SPL) jumped 11.5% to 10.88p despite needing additional funds to complete the port in India and fund the company until it generates cash.

Additional cash flow and revenues boosted Billing Services (BILL) pushed the firm higher by 29.6%. The market chose not to focus on a cut to full-year guidance as a result of a decline in billable service calls on landline phones.

Specialist long-term savings provider Hansard Global (HSD) fell 11.1% as operating cash surplus fell from £ 24.3 million to £15.9 million.

Fishing tackle retailer Fishing Republic (FISH) sunk 4.3% to 38.75p despite swinging into profit for the half-year to June 30 on improved sales.

Oil rig construction business Lamprell (LAM) said profit from continuing operations after income tax and exceptional items rose from $20.3 million in the first half of 2015 to $30.6 million on 30 June. Investors focused on the good news, instead of expectations that revenue for the full year will be slightly below expectations.

The Mission Marketing Group (TMMG) was in positive territory following an increase in operating profit to £2.2 million and a 67% hike in the interim dividend to 0.5p.

Investors raised a glass to premium drinks brands owner Distil (DIS) on news that another major supermarket listed the micro cap’s RedLeg Spiced Rum and Blackwoods Vintage Dry Gin tipples for its stores and online.

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