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Market Wrap - Midday

FTSE rises as investors overlook North Korean threat

22 September 2017 11:58

A weak start to the FTSE 100 on Friday amid North Korea's further threats of nuclear action didn't last long as the blue chip index managed to regain a front foot approaching midday. The FTSE 100 traded 0.2% higher at 7,282.

North Korea's foreign minister warned it is considering a nuclear test of 'unprecedented scale' in the Pacific Ocean, pushing the gold price 0.4% up to $1,297 per ounce as the market sought a safe haven.

The pound strengthened against the dollar ahead UK Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit speech in Florence this afternoon.

Cigarette seller British American Tobacco (BATS) and Nurofen owner Reckitt Benckiser (RB.) were among the top blue-chip performers, up 1.3% and 1.1% to £46.24 and £67.77.

Brent crude oil was up 0.2% at $56.55 per barrel and copper cheapened 0.4% to $2.90 per pound.


Stock markets were red across the board at Wall Street last night as US President Donald Trump continued to criticise North Korea. The S&P 500 close 0.5% lower at 2,500 on Thursday.


Engineer Smiths Group (SMIN) fell 3.6% to £15.55 following a decline in its oil and gas activities that were impacted by difficult conditions in the global energy markets.


Over 50s insurer Saga (SAGA) was flat at 196.6p despite consistent growth of 5.5% in underlying pre-tax profit, driven by 10.4% growth in the retail broking and travel businesses in the half year to 31 July.

It was good news from struggling Acacia Mining (ACA), pushing the share price 1.8% higher to 181.9p. The miner revealed positive results from its processing trial at Buzwagi, which was designed to maximise gold dore production from the mine. An export ban by the Tanzanian government on unprocessed ore earlier this year has dragged on Acacia's performance.


Energy tech group Intelligent Energy (IEH) was among the small cap casualties after warning it faced an uncertain outlook due to the slower than expected development of the market. Shares in Intelligent Energy plummeted 54.5% to 3.5p. The company forecast that sales in the year to 30 September would be approximately £21m, down from £91.8m.

Embattled distributer DX (DX.) sold several properties for approximately £4m and secured a loan worth £2m from Gatemore, but this failed to inspire confidence as the stock retreated 7.2% to 7.7p.

Oil and gas services provider Lamprell (LAM) reported that adverse market conditions hit total first half revenue, which fell $159.2m from $451.3m a year ago. The company blamed conditions in the new build jack-up rig sector and low levels of contract awards in 2016 and 2017. The stock fell 11% to 88.2p.

Chemicals business Iofina (IOF) beat iodine production expectations in the first half of 2017 and benefitted from a 2% boost in the spot price of iodine. Shares in the firm surged 13.3% to 13.1p.

Central Asia Metals (CAML) agreed to acquire Lynx Resources, the owner of the SASA zinc-lead mine in Macedonia, from Orion Co-Investments III and Fusion Capital for $402.5m. Its shares remain suspended until acquisition documents are published next week.

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