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Market Wrap - Midday

Pharma stocks keep FTSE stable

26 May 2017 11:48

Healthy share price movements from drug stocks put the FTSE 100 in positive territory, offsetting weakness from UK-focused banks and utilities. The blue chip index traded 0.1% higher at 7,529.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) increased by 1.1% to £16.36 and AstraZeneca (AZN) advanced 0.4% to £52.33.

In contrast, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) fell 2.2% to 260.1p and Barclays (BARC) retreated 1.7% to 210.4p. United Utilities (UU.) cheapened 1.8% to £10.34.

Overnight, oil prices sharply dropped as the markets wanted deeper production cuts from the oil producers' cartel OPEC.

Gold and copper were flat at $1,255 per ounce and $5,710 per tonne.

OVERSEAS MARKETS

US equities rallied last night (Thursday) thanks to strong results from Best Buy and cosmetics retailer Ulta. Investors were clearly keen on retail as Sears was marked 13.5% higher amid better than expected sales.

Japan's Nikkei 225 closed 0.6% lower at 19,686 on Friday.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

Publishing company Informa (INF) impressed investors with a continued improvement in its operating performance in the first four months of 2017. The strong performance contrasted with other struggling publishing houses, sparking a 4.8% rise to 682p.

In the property sector, Hammerson (HMSO) exchanged contracts for the sale of Westwood and Westwood Gateway retail parks to clients of BMO Real Estate Partners for £80m. This failed to move the share price at 583.5p.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

The market was relieved that the Restaurant Group's (RTN) trading update was not as bad as expected. The owner of Frankie & Benny's reported a 1.8% decline in like-for-like sales in the 20 weeks to 21 May. Shares in the business rose 10.6% to 351.1p.

After a mixed performance on the stock market in 2017, private hospital group Spire Healthcare (SPI) was up 0.7% to 340.2p after saying it was on track to meet market expectations for the year to September.

The $435m acquisition of thermal tech firm Chromalox was a winning deal for engineer Spirax-Sarco (SPX) as the stock gained 6.4% to £56.63.

Product testing firm Intertek (ITRK) fell 0.4% to £42.94 as it revealed a 15.4% decline in sales from its resources division.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Rex Bionics (RXB) crashed 80% after closing a deal to offload its operating business, together with plans to delist from AIM.

Ncondezi Energy (NCCL) suspended exclusive discussions with Shanghai Electric Power concerning its joint development deal. Shares in the company declined 8.2% to 1.9p.

In the oil and gas sector, Anglo African Oil & Gas (AAOG) re-perforated the TLP-102 well, but failed to get the oil to rise to the surface. The disappointing update frustrated the market as the stock slumped 17.9% to 22.5p.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

Related Company: INF

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