Miners provide FTSE support

The FTSE 100 was flat at 6,914 on gains from media stocks and miners.

Sky (SKY) and ITV (ITV) were the biggest risers with a 2.5% rally, while Glencore (GLEN), Rio Tinto (RIO) and BHP Billiton (BLT) made smaller gains of over 1.5%.

West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude oil rose 1% to $50.24 and $53.55, respectively.

Gold was stable at $1,175 per ounce and copper was 1% lower at $5,754 per tonne.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

Outsourcing company Capita (CPI) issued a second profit warning in three months, which it blamed on uncertainty after the Brexit vote, and announced plans to sell its asset services business to protect its balance sheet.

Underlying pre-tax profit is predicted to be at least £515m against previously lowered guidance of £535m to £555m with little recovery expected in 2017.

Utility multinational National Grid (NG.) agreed to sell a majority interest in its gas distribution division to a consortium of long-term infrastructure investors. The deal valued the asset at £13.8bn (including debt) and will see £4bn returned to shareholders.

Glencore (GLEN) and shareholder Qatar Investment Authority confirmed it will jointly invest approximately €10bn for a 19.5% stake in oil company Rosneft.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

Sports retailer Sports Direct (SPD) declined 7.6% to 290.8p on a 25% fall in first half pre-tax profit to £140m, mainly as a result of unhedged exposure to sterling weakness.

Chairman Keith Hellawell launched a tirade against the media, unions and politicians for launching a ‘campaign’ against the firm, which has been heavily criticised for its working practices.

Bookies William Hill (WMH) and Ladbrokes Coral (LCL) were both in the red amid reports that a parliamentary committee will recommend a crackdown on the use of fixed-odds betting terminals.

Shares in online grocer Ocado (OCDO) were stale at 270p as fourth quarter sales growth dipped.

Investors were impressed by packaging firm DS Smith’s (SMDS) latest results after reporting a 60% increase in first half pre-tax profit to £146m and a 15% hike in the dividend to 4.6p.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Shares in software company ServicePower Technologies (SVR) jumped by over a third to 5.5p on confirmation of a recommended 6p a share cash offer from suitor Diversis.

Unresolved disputes with Logiman hit Weatherly International’s (WTI) share price after the company reduced its stake from 11.4% to 9.6%. As the holding fell below 10%, Krzysztof Szymczak resigned as director of the company with immediate effect.

South East Asia data centre facilities provider CSF (CSFG) crashed by 14.7% to 0.81p as operating profit more than halved from RM5,234,000 to RM1,933.

Housebuilder MJ Gleeson (GLE) warned that the timing of sales in its Strategic Land division will see results in the first six months of its current financial year slightly below the first half of the previous year.

Lloyd’s of London insurer Novae (NVA) slumped 19% to 675p as it warned of a hit to its underwriting operations from larger individual risk and catastrophe losses. It also suffered a hit to the value of its fixed-income portfolio and a £17m writedown due to a change in its accounting for deferred acquisition costs.

Social care provider Caretech (CTH) gained 4.8% on full year revenue increasing by a fifth and a hike in the dividend.

Ceramic brake disc developer Surface Transforms (SCE) fell 7.6% to 22p as it blames increased overheads for a guided year-on-year increase in losses.

Resorts investor Dolphin Capital (DCI) disposed the Playa Grande Golf and Resort project to a joint venture for €140 million.

Pressure Technologies (PRES) acquired UK-based engineering business Martract and the stock gained 6.7%.

Digital entertainment solutions provider Amino Technologies (AMO) said it expected to report revenue and profit marginally ahead of revised market expectations.

Oil and gas producer Nostra Terra (NTOG) positively surprised investors with an increase of $600,000 in the price tag of its Chisholm Trail Prospect, sold for an initially agreed $2.1m. Shares in the company catapulted 30% to 1.85p.

RedT Energy (RED) raised £12m through a discounted shares placing, which will be used for capital expenditure, operating costs and working capital.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com