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Market Wrap - Market Open

FTSE mildly up on financials; sterling slips

23 May 2017 08:53

The FTSE was tracking mildly higher in early deals as several financial-sector stocks made moderate gains against a fabric of sterling weakness on the dollar and euro.

Details continue to emerge about a terror attack at a concert in Manchester last night, the suicide blast reportedly leaving at least 22 dead and many more wounded.

Not long after the open, the FTSE 100 was up 3.89 points, or 0.05%, to 7500.23, while the FTSE 250 was up 39.7, or 0.2%, to 19,952.2. Key indices in Europe were making minor gains, too.

The blue-chip ladder was led up by Babcock International (BAB), up 2.52% to 965.25p, and Rolls-Royce (RR.), up 1.67% to 867.75p.

Banks were in northbound focus after Barclays (BARC), up 1.01% to 215.8p, and Lloyds (LLOY), ahead 0.95% to 72.47p. RBS (RBS) added 0.54% to 263p.

Insurers climbed after Legal & General (LGEN), up 0.9% to 252.55p, and Prudential (PRU), up 0.56% to 1745.25p. House builders and utilities also figured to the upside.

Severn Trent (SVT), up 0.57% to 2462p, produced strong operational delivery and metrics in its FY. Pretax profit was £336.1m, up from £302.9m.

To the downside of about 33 blue-chip stocks, miners were dominant. BHP Billiton (BLT) faded 0.88% to 1204.75p, while Glencore (GLEN) lost 0.72% to 294.38p. More followed.

Fresnillo (FRES), down 0.47% to 1595.5p, said it remained well positioned to continue to optimise its performance, maintain a strong financial position and deliver considerable long-term value for shareholders.

Oil majors were barely firmer as the market looks ahead to Opec's meetign on 25 May, when it was expected to extend production cuts by nine months.


Regal Petroleum (RPT) rose 34.28% to 4.25p after it said that in initial testing the MEX-109 well produced at a rate of about 85,000 m3/d of gas and 40 m3/d of condensate (778 boepd in aggregate). It was now intended to hook up the well to the gas processing facility and thereafter undertake production testing.

Andalas Energy & Power (ADL) rose 22.58% to 0.1p after it raised £600,000 at 1p/share, after its suspension was lifted. Talks were ongoing with potential partners who had appropriate technical and financial resources to co-develop and fund the roll-out of Andalas' pipeline of projects, including the first IPP.

Chamberlin (CMH) fell 15.01% to 150p after it swung to a FY pretax profit of £54,000, from a year earlier loss of £336,000. Revenue was up. "The group remains well placed for further progress over the new financial year, supported by major new contracts," it said.


1Spatial (SPA), down 13.79% to 3.13p, has posted a wider FY 2017 pretax loss of £15.7m, from a loss of £1.1m, and noted that Q1 2018 trading in has been strong.

Newmark Security (NWT), up 10.91% to 1.53p, said its Grosvenor Technology has entered a development and commercial partnership with US-based UniKey Technologies, Inc to develop its access control technology and provide new products.

eg solutions (EGS), up 9.92% to 72p, continued to gain market share by implementing its focused strategy of direct sales and distribution via its in-house resources and global partners, said chairman Nigel Payne in a statement for the company's AGM.

HomeServe (HSV), up 7.3% to 753.25p, saw strong momentum across the group with a record performance in North America in the year to the end of March. Statutory operating profit rose by 20% to £104.7m.

Georgian Mining Corporation (GEO), up 6.82% to 17.63p, has raised $7m through a significantly oversubscribed placing and subscription of 34,149,638 new ordinary shares at 16p apiece.

Greencore (GNC), up 6.45% to 241.95p, said group revenues improved 46.1% to £1.01bn in the 26 weeks to end-March. Group EBITDA rose 31.2% to £79.1m and group operating profit increased 27.1% to £55.3m.

Shanta Gold (SHG), up 6.35% to 8.38p, announces that first stope ore has been produced from the New Luika Gold Mine (NLGM) underground operation.

UDG Healthcare (UDG), up 4.01% to 796.75p, has lifted its H1 pretax profit to $40.9m, from $35.4m, as it upped its EPS guidance for the FY.

Other stocks in the news included Syncona (SYNC), AVEVA (AVV), Big Yellow (BYG), Shaftesbury (SHB), De La Rue (DLAR), Nostrum Oil & Gas (NOG), Cranswick (CWK), Venture Life (VLG), Oxford BioDynamics (OBD), easyHotel (EZH), Oilex (OEX) and Entertainment One (ETO).

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