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Market Wrap - Market Open

FTSE blue chips fall on financials, pharmas as mid caps rise

08 February 2017 09:07

London blue chips are tending lower in early deals with multiple financials, pharmas and oil majors leading the pack, as mid caps continue their record run higher.

Soon after the open, FTSE 100 was down 10.96 points, or 0.15%, to 7175.26, while FTSE 250 was up 10.46, up 0.06%, to 18,570.2. Blue-chip risers and fallers were roughly evenly split.

Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.), down 2.16% to 1356p and atop the FTSE 100 fallers, said its H1 net revenue rose 16% to £184.8m. Pretax profit rose 21% to £131.0m. AuA rose to a record £70.0bn.

Pharmas popped south after Shire (SHP), down 1.48% to 4493.5p, and Glaxosmithkline (GSK) dropped 0.64% to 1552.5p.

Oil majors softened behind Shell (RDSA), off 1.45% to 2122.75p, while BP (BP.) eased 0.47% to 454.93p.

At about 8.35am, WTI crude was down 0.98% to $51.66/bbl and Brent was down 0.6% to $54.72/bbl. Gold was down 0.08% to $1235.1/oz, with silver also down and copper firmly ahead.

In addition to Hargreaves Lansdown, other financials lower included London Stock Exchange (LSE), off 0.99% to 3108p, and Old Mutual (OML), down 0.96% to 205.9p. Several banks dropped, too.

Other top-100 sectors down included utilities, consumer goods and high-street retail.

To the upside miners were in particular focus, Antofagasta (ANTO) rose 2.72% to 858.75p, while Anglo American (AAL), up 2.25% to 1365.5p.

Rio Tinto (RIO), up 2.79% to 3531p, has swung to FY net earnings of $4.6bn, from a net loss of $866m. Its dividend per share was 170 cents, down 21% from 215 cents. It also unveiled a share buy-back of $0.5bn over the period March 1 to Dec. 31, 2017.

Also up was RSA Insurance (RSA), ahead 2% to 598.25p, has signed contracts, to dispose £834m of UK legacy insurance liabilities to Enstar Group Ltd.

Smurfit Kappa (SKG) was up 1.4% to 2174p as it posted a FY pretax profit of €654m, up 9% from €599m. It recommended a 20% hike in final dividend to 57.6 cents a share.


Alexander Mining (AXM), down 16.18% to 0.14p, has raised £750,000 gross via a placing of 535.7m shares at 0.14p each. Net proceeds would be used for a potential strategic mining corporate investment opportunity, and for general working capital purposes.

blur Group (BLUR), up 11.86% to 8.25p, expected its 2016 EBITDA to be ahead of forecasts.

Versarien (VRS), up 10.64% to 13p, announces the launch of its new graphene brand, Nanene. It said Nanene was manufactured using Versarien's patent-protected, mechanised exfoliation process.


Aura Energy (AURA), up 9.78% to 2.53p, said it would start drilling of its two under-explored mineralised greenstone belts in Mauritania shortly.

Dunelm Group (DNLM), down 6.54% to 639.75p, lifted its market share in the 26 weeks to end-December, but trading was slightly softer than expected due to a weaker market and some short-term supply chain disruption. H1 total sales rose 2.8%, but like-for-like sales fell 1.6%.

Range Resources (RRL), up 6.32% to 0.37p, confirms that all the conditions for the $20m convertible note financing have been met. JKX Oil & Gas (JKX), down 6.25% to 30p, has lost its main claim against Ukraine over excessive royalties and production taxes paid by the company's subsidiary, Poltava Petroleum Co.

Redrow (RDW), up 4.8% to 474.2p, has hiked its H1 pretax profit by 35% to £140m, from £104m, in what it penned as a robust performance. Interim dividend vaulted 50% higher to 6p a share, from 4p.

Victrex (VCT), down 3.83% to 1897.5p, has made a solid start to 2017, as it unveiled a joint-venture with Tri-Mack Plastics to accelerate the Aerospace Loaded Brackets mega-programme.

Totally (TLY), up 3.54% to 58.5p, anticipates its FY results to be marginally ahead of current market views. Based on unaudited management accounts, it said revenues for the 12 months to Dec. 31, 2016, were expected to be no less than £3.7m.

Elektron Technology (EKT), down 3.08% to 7.88p, said group revenue from continuing operations for the year to end-January was about £34.5m, versus with £35.5m (on a like-for-like basis) previously. H2 trading on continuing operations was showing some recovery from the H1 slowdown.

Other stocks in the news included Keywords Studios (KWS), AA (AA.), John Laing Environmental Assets Group (JLEN), WS Atkins (ATK), DP Poland (DPP), Grainger (GRI) and Tullow Oil (TLW).

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