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Market Wrap - Market Open

FTSE falls on miners, financials as Old Mutual suffers

31 March 2017 09:02

London shares were a little lower in early deals with heavyweight miners providing decisive ballast, but Old Mutual took the wooden spoon after South Africa's President, Jacob Zuma, fired his finance minister.

South African insurer Old Mutual (OML) dived 7.61% to 200.4p after Zuma fired Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in a late-night cabinet reshuffle, causing a slump in the country's rand currency and government bonds.

Not long after the open, the FTSE 100 was down 24.52 points, or 0.33%, to 7345.00, and the FTSE 250 was down 36.2, or 0.19%, to 18,975.7. The Dax and Cac 40 were also softer.

Big miners were in focus. Anglo American (AAL) lost 2.63% to 1229.25p, while Antofagasta (ANTO) shed 2.44% to 819.5p, and Rio Tinto (RIO) lost 2.36% to 3212.5p. More metals diggers followed.

Also down were multiple financials after Standard Life (SL.), down 0.79% to 353.1p, Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.), down 0.77% to 1297p, and St James's Place (STJ), down 0.56% to 1056p. Banks were also falling, as were house builders.

On the blue-chip upside, Direct Line Insurance (DLG) added 3.26% to 352.1p. It was followed by a posse of commercial property outfits behind British Land (BLND), up 1.31% to 600.25p, and Land Securities (LAND), up 1.22% to 1039.5p. Several airlines and utilities also rose.

Among Friday's headlines, AstraZeneca (AZN), down 0.13% to 4920.5p, said its lung cancer drug Tagrisso has been granted full approval by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Micro Focus International (MCRO), down 0.38% to 2257.5p, noted the launch of the syndication process for a proposed new credit facility of $5.5bn in relation to the proposed merger with the Software Business Segment of Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

BIGGER MOVERS

Oxford Pharmascience (OXP), down 41.32% to 1.78p, said the US FDA has not agreed with the proposed phase III study design for the OXPzero Ibuprofen prescription programme, based on endoscopic primary endpoints (frequency of erosions and ulcers).

North Midland Construction (NMD) rose 26.83% to 260p after reporting an improved FY pretax profit of £2.1m, from £606,000. It said a significant proportion of its 2017 turnover had been secured, the balance to be achieved from selected projects in H1.

Akers Biosciences (AKR) fell 21.43% to 137.5p after announcing a placing to raise about $2m, proceeds going to growth capital and for general corporate purposes. The placing of 1.45m shares would be priced at $1.40 a share.

BMR Group (BMR) fell 20.69% to 5.75p as it warned that the start of production by end-2017 was largely dependent upon the supply chain dynamics, timely financing from the drawdowns from the loan facility secured and planned commissioning by ZEMA.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Nu-Oil & Gas (NUOG) added 10.84% to 0.46p on stating its production sharing agreement with PVF Energy Services was to resume operations onf PL2002-01(A) in New foundland. Nu-Oil also posted a narrower H1 pretax loss of £421,000, from a loss of £472,000.

Beowulf Mining (BEM) rose 10.61% to 9.12p after providing an update on the Kallak North Exploitation Concession, stating that it has been acknowledged that a mining operation there did not directly impact Laponia.

Shawbrook Group (SHAW) rose 9.28% to 334p after confirming aa 330p a share cash-per-share offer from Marlin Bidco Ltd, a company jointly owned by funds managed or advised by Pollen Street Capital Ltd and funds advised by BC Partners LLP.

Safestay (SSTY), up 9.28% to 53p, has agreed an £18.4m debt restructuring and refinancing to replace existing convertible and bank debt. It had also completed sale and leaseback transactions on its hostels in Edinburgh and Elephant & Castle, raising proceeds of £12.6m.

DX (DX.), flat at 9.5p, said its H1 adjusted pretax profits fell to £0.6m, down from £2.4m last time. It also confirmed it was in talks with John Menzies over the potential combination of DX and John Menzies' (MNZS) distribution division. Menzies' shares rose 7.44% to 682.25p.

Cenkos Securities (CNKS), down 2.13% to 92p, said its FY pretax profits fell to £4.4m, down 78% down from £19.9m last time. Revenues fell 43% to £43.7m. "Since the start of this year we have been engaged in a number of fund raisings for clients and our current pipeline is encouraging."

Koovs (KOOV), up 4.72% to 55.5p, has announced its strategy to expand into additional high potential markets in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. It said the first international distribution agreement, signed today, would launch the Koovs Private Label Collection on SOUQ.com.

Other stocks in the news included Eland Oil & Gas (ELA), Numis Corp (NUM), Autins (AUTG), Chesnara (CSN), Ortac Resources (OTC), Ascent Resources (AST), Avanti Communications (AVN), TomCo Energy (TOM) and Bowleven (BLVN).

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

Related Company: OML

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