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Market Wrap - Midday

Gold miners rally on stronger prices

04 April 2017 11:57

Stronger gold prices helped to push mining stocks higher on Tuesday.

Randgold Resources (RRS) gained 2% to £71.70 and Fresnillo (FRES) was up 2.3% to £15.88.

Pharmaceutical stocks AstraZeneca (AZN) and Shire (SHP) also jumped approximately 1% higher.

Slower housing activity growth weighed on the UK construction sector as the Purchasing Managers' index fell from 52.5 in February to 52.2 in March.

West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude oil rose 0.4% to $50.47 and $53.36 per barrel, respectively.

Gold advanced 0.6% to $1,258 per ounce and copper cheapened 0.3% to $5,710 per tonne.


Motor sales last month at General Motors in the US were worse than expected and helped undermine investor confidence. Both the Dow Jones and S&P 500 were flat on Monday.

Japan's Nikkei 225 followed Wall Street lower, closing 0.9% down on Tuesday. Other stock markets in China and Hong Kong shrugged off the bad news and climbed up to 0.5% higher.


Bunzl (BNZL) acquired two safety businesses in the US and Italy, prompting the shares to rise 1.8% to £23.42.


Network security solutions provider Sophos (SOPH) said March 2017 revenue and earnings would come in ahead of previous guidance after a strong end to the financial year. Shares in the company sparked 13% to 308.2p.


Online fashion retailer ASOS (ASC) stumbled 3.7% to £57.53 despite its first half pre-tax profits rising to £27.3m, up from £233.9m last time. Retail sales grew strongly to £889.2m, up 38% on a reported basis with solid UK growth of 18%.

Nanoco (NANO) fell 13.3% to 31.2p after a wider H1 pre-tax loss of £6.4m, from a loss of £6.3m. It was in talks with nine original equipment manufacturers regarding 14 projects and expected several to become sales. In a worst-case scenario, Nanoco's cash would run out in the first quarter of 2018 without cost reductions.

Oil and gas firm Empyrean Energy (EME) conditionally agreed to acquire up to a 20% stake in West Natuna Exploration (WNEL), which held a 100% interest in the Duyung production sharing contract in Indonesia.

Non-network based telecoms firm AdEPT Telecom (ADT), up 9.6% to 348p, 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.

Despite energy consultancy Utilitywise (UTW) unveiling decent half year results, its share price dropped by 10.4% to 141p.

Goldplat (GDP) was still unable to reach agreement with Rand Refinery relating to a dispute over a binding memorandum of understanding. It would not accept a settlement that implied it owed Rand Refinery anything and said it would initiate legal proceedings.

Investors took profits in digital marketing firm Next Fifteen Communications' (NFC) full year results, which showed revenue and pre-tax profit up 32% and 50% respectively. The market fixated on net debt almost doubling, causing the stock to nudge 3.6% lower to 385.4p.

Asa Resource Group (ASA) received anonymous allegations relating to operations at its 85%-held Freda Rebecca Gold Mine in Zimbabwe. Management strongly suspected certain disgruntled former employees might be at the root of the issues, but this didn't stop the stock from falling 2.5% to 1.9p.

Tile specialist Topps Tiles (TPT) slipped 8.8% to 88.6p as total revenues for the 26 weeks to 1 April declined to £106.5m, from £108m, as like-for-like revenues fell 1.9%. Trading in the second quarter reflected softer market conditions.

Oil and gas firm Parkmead (PMG) increased its stake from 56% to 100% in the major Sanda North and Sanda South structures in the West of Shetland area of the UK North Sea.

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