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Market Wrap - Market Open

FTSE higher behind Bunzl as GBPUSD weakens

04 April 2017 09:04

London stocks opened higher as a weaker sterling against the US dollar provided yet another leg higher for the FTSE, with more than 80 blue-chip shares making early gains.

Not too long after the open, the FTSE 100 was up 37.69 points, or 0.52%, to 7320.38, while the FTSE 250 was up 74.6, or 0.39%, to 19,028.8. This followed a softer session on Wall St last night, while in Europe key indices were so far mixed.

Bunzl (BNZL), up 1.83% to 2343p and leading the top-100 ladder's gainers, has acquired two further safety businesses in the US and Italy. It was followed by Rolls-Royce (RR.), up 1.57% to 762.25p, and Intertek (ITRK), up 1.56% to 3992.5p.

A 0.46% rise in the price of gold to $1259.80/oz helped Randgold (RRS), up 1.24% to 7122.5p, and Fresnillo (FRES), up 0.84% to 1565p. Despite falls in industrial metals, Rio Tinto (RIO) rose 0.82% to 3212.5p and BHP Billiton (BLT) added 0.57% to 1235p.

BP (BP.), up 1.19% to 461.55p, and Shell (RDSA), up 0.28% to 2081.75p, ran counter to the direction of crude prices. In the meantime there were multiple pharma, commercial property, high-street retail and utilities prominent among the long list of risers.

To the downside, fallers were led by Mediclinic (MDC), off 2.6% to 692p, and Old Mutual (OML), which fell 2.39% to 193.75p as the rand further weakened. Some supermarkets were lower. Morrisons (MRW), off 0.48% to 358.65p, and Sainsbury (SBRY), down 0.46% to 262p.

BIGGER MOVERS

Nanoco (NANO) fell 18.06% to 29.5p after a wider H1 pretax loss of £6.4m, from a loss of 6.3m. It was in talks with nine OEMs regarding 14 projects and expected several to become sales. In a worst-case scenario, Nanoco's cash would run out in Q1 2018 without cost reductions.

Empyrean Energy (EME), up 12.9% to 4.38p, has conditionally agreed to acquire up to a 20% shareholding in West Natuna Exploration Ltd (WNEL), which held a 100% participating interest in the highly prospective Duyung production sharing contract in Indonesia.

AdEPT Telecom (ADT), up 11.02% to 352.5p, expected its FY underlying EBITDA to be about 20% up on last time and ahead of market forecasts of a 18% rise year-on-year.

Goldplat (GDP) lost 9.84% to 6.88p as it said it was still unable to reach agreement with Rand Refinery relating to a dispute over a binding MoU. It would not accept a settlement that implied it owed Rand Refinery anything and would thus be initiating legal proceedings.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Sophos (SOPH), up 7.83% to 293.4p, said its FY constant currency billings growth is expected to be about 20%, with that in Q4 about 27%, excluding any benefit from the recently announced acquisition of Invincea.

Hydrogen (HYDG), up 7.14% to 37.5p, said its adjusted pretax profits rose to £0.8m in the year to end-December, up from £0.2m in 2015. Group revenue totalled £116.2m, down from £123.6m.

ASOS (ASC), down 5.14% to 5670p, said its H1 pretax profits rose to £27.3m, up from £233.9m last time. Retail sales grew strongly to £889.2m, up 38% on a reported basis and up 31% on a constant currency basis with solid UK growth of 18% in a more promotional market.

Asa Resource Group (ASA), down 5% to 1.9p, has received anonymous allegations relating to the operations at its 85%-held Freda Rebecca Gold Mine in Zimbabwe. It believed these mischievous, with directors strongly suspecting certain disgruntled former employees might be at the root.

Keywords Studios (KWS), up 3.59% to 707.5p, said its FY adjusted pretax profit rose 86% to €14.9m. Group revenue, including the effect of acquisitions, improved 67% to €96.6m.

Topps Tiles (TPT), down 3.34% to 94p, said total revenues for the 26 weeks to 1 April were £106.5m, from £108.0m, with LFL revenues falling 1.9%. Q2 trading reflected softer market conditions, and the results were set against a stronger comparative period.

Parkmead Group (PMG), up 2.67% to 48p, has hiked its stake in the major Sanda North and Sanda South structures in the West of Shetland area of the UK North Sea. These two large Palaeocene prospects were in Block 205/13. Its equity in licence was now 100%, from 56%.

SNC-Lavalin confirmed it had made an approach to acquire the entire issued and to be issued share capital of WS Atkins (ATK) at 2080p a share in cash. A deal would value WS Atkins at about $3.5bn. WS Atkins shares were up 0.36% to 1957p.

Horse Hill Developments Ltd said, in relation to the Horse Hill Licence period, the UK Oil and Gas Authority has consented to extend the current PEDL137 and PEDL246 Retention Areas until 2021. Shares in Solo Oil (SOLO), Gunsynd (GUN) and Primorous Investments (PRIM) were flat, while UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG) and Alba Mineral Resources' (ALBA) rose and Regency Mines's (RGM) dipped.

Other stocks in the news included Central Asia Metals (CAML), Tlou Energy (TLOU), Bowleven (BLVN), Wizz Air (WIZZ), P2P Global Investments (P2P), Hg Capital (HGT), Trakm8 (TRAK), Tracsis (TRCS), ITE (ITE), Panmure Gordon (PMR), Ryanair (RYA), Helios Underwriting (HUW) and Inland Homes (INL).

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

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