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Market Wrap - Midday

FTSE flat on weaker banks and oil prices

16 December 2016 11:48

The blue chip index was flat as a banking stock rally faded and the stronger dollar continued to weigh on oil prices.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil was 0.3% lower at $50.76 and Brent crude oil was flat at $54 per barrel, respectively.

Gold gained 0.6% to $1,134 per ounce, while copper fell 1% to $5,665 per tonne.


Pest control firm Rentokil (RTO) advances 6.3% to 224.7p after the market approved a joint venture with German peer Haniel for its workwear and hygiene units. Under the terms of the agreement, Rentokil will bank an initial €520m and have an 18% stake in the JV.

Infrastructure group Balfour Beatty (BBY) announced a partial sale of its interests in five Street Lighting PFI projects to funds managed by Equitix. The sale is for £33m.

IP-based business develop IP (IPO) agreed to acquire spin-out focused EIS fund manager Parkwalk Advisors for £10m.


Torotrak (TRK) was notified by a prospective licensee that a further deterioration in the trading outlook for the global off-highway market could delay the completion of current license negotiations. Management said it will take longer to secure the first licence than expected. The stock slumped by 23.5% on the news.

Investors were disappointed by Anglo Asian Mining's (AAZ) expiration results, as the stock declined 12.2% to 20.2p.

Johnston Press's (JPR) subsidiary entered a conditional agreement to sell Johnston Publishing East Anglia for £17m.

Specialist travel agent On The Beach (OTB) declined 7.6% to 255p as management sold 14 million shares in the company at 240p.

Newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror (TNI) was hot off the presses as it issued guidance for full year performance to be marginally ahead of expectations and it flagged 'significantly' better than anticipated net debt position of £35m.

Aerial platform business Lavendon (LVD) gained 6.7% as the bidding war for the company intensified. Thermote & Vanhalst increased its offer from 205p to 230p yesterday and its rival Loxam has responded with an increased all cash offer of 250p per share.

Walkie talkie tech firm Sepura (SEPU) plummeted 18.7% after its Chinese suitor announced a recommended cash offer of 20p per share. The deal represented a 35.6% premium to the closing price the day before talks were announced, but investors clearly wanted more.

Property management services company HML (HMLH) raised £2.035 through an oversubscribed shares placing to help with three acquisitions.

North Sea oil firm Independent Oil & Gas (IOG) announced a significant increase in its internal resource estimates for its Elgood and Harvey natural gas assets in the Southern North Sea. It also revealed licence extensions on Harvey and another field, Skipper.

Marine seismic business Thalassa (THAL) flagged expected revenue growth of nearly 30% in 2017, but the stock retreated 3.3%.

Colombian oil producer Amerisur Resources (AMER) slipped 5.2% to 27p after suffering operational delays linked to social unrest.

Health-focused wearable devices company Cloudtag (CTAG) crashed 14% to 11.4p after shares resumed trading following the conversion of loan notes into equity by one of its major backers.

Industrial threads manufacturer Coats (COA) is up more than 12% as it secures a deal on historic pension liabilities which could allow it to resume dividends in the future.

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