“The FTSE100 opened in negative territory, extending the losses registered since North Korea threatened to launch ballistic missiles towards the US territory of Guam. Traders around the globe continue to head for safe havens, with gold showing its strongest performance for over two months,” says AJ Bell Investment Director Russ Mould.
“Highlands Natural Resources was a double-digit riser in early trading after starting drilling at its shale oil and gas project in Colorado. Strong shareholder support for its open offer last month has given Highlands the wherewithal to achieve meaningful operational advantages by spudding two wells. The group’s shares were up by more than 10.7%.
“Old Mutual's shares fell despite a 76% jump in first half pre-tax profits. The group made a profit of £108m from the sale of OM Asset Management, although this was partly offset by a goodwill impairment of £71m in respect of UAP-Old Mutual in East Africa. Weighing on investor sentiment, though, is the continuation of tough macroeconomic conditions in its largest market of South Africa and ongoing volatility in the main currencies in which it conducts its business. Old Mutual was down by over 1.2%.
“Afarak has a strong first half with revenues increasing to €104.1m from €80.3m earnings rising to €17.5m from €4.1m. The group was buoyed by higher ferrochrome prices but these were lower in the second quarter than in the first three months and going forward, market volatility remains as the benchmark price for quarter three has been reduced still further. Afarak’s shares were flat in early trading.”
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