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Market Wrap - Market Open

FTSE rallies as Provident Financial plunges

22 August 2017 09:00

Provident Financial (PFG) crashed 57.3% to 745p after ditching its interim dividend. The company said its collections performance was running at 57% compared to 90% in 2016 and sales were also £9m per week lower than the comparative weeks in 2016.

Despite the underwhelming performance, the FTSE 100 rallied 0.7% to 7,373 due to stronger mining stocks, which were led higher by Antofagasta (ANTO) and BHP Billiton's (BLT) upbeat results.

Rio Tinto (RIO) and Glencore (GLEN) were up 2.1% and 1.2% to £35.21 and 346.4p.

Brent crude oil surged 0.6% to $52 per barrel. Gold and copper were down 0.3% to $1,287 per tonne and $6,547 per ounce.


Shares in housebuilder Persimmon (PSN) were heading in the opposite direction as it boosted pre-tax profit by 30% to £457.4m in the first half of 2017, up from £352.3m in 2016. The stock was up 2.9% at £26.30 on the good news.

Antofagasta had a strong first half with revenues up 41.9% at $2,049m, due to stronger copper prices and a 14.3% increase in sales volumes. Investors were pleased with the positive results, marking the shares 2.7% higher to 985.8p.

Elsewhere in the mining sector, BHP Billiton swung into the black in the year to the end of June with a profit of $5.9bn against a loss of $6.4bn last year. The company also announced plans to sell its onshore US assets, driving the stock 3.1% higher to £14.10.


Wood Group (WG.) was resilient at 573p despite operational profit falling 32.1% to $72m in the six months to 30 June 2017.

Cairn Energy (CNE) enjoyed a 1.7% lift to 177p after swinging into profit following strong progress across its business in the first half of the year. The oil and gas explorer reported $314m profit, up from a loss of $38m last time.


News from Ortac Resources (OTC) that its Casa Mining venture commenced exploration drilling operations at the 1.5Moz Akyanga deposit in the Democratic Republic of the Congo triggered a share price rally of 13% to 3.4p. Ortac owns 22.2% of Casa.

Sphere Medical's (SPHR) share price continued to suffer after the company announced it was considering leaving AIM and re-registering as a private limited firm. Approximately 80% of Sphere Medical's value has been wiped off since the announcement after the stock market closed on Monday.

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