FTSE cautiously up as miners, house builders in focus

London stocks opened cautiously on the front foot with the blue-chip ladder led up by a string of miners and house builders.

Soon after the open, FTSE 100 was up 18.76 points, or 0.28%, to 6768.48, while FTSE 250 was up 70, or 0.4%, to 17,544.0. Blue-chip risers numbered about 80.

At 8.37am, WTI crude was up 0.15% to $45.64/bbl and Brent was up 0.04% to $46.65/bbl. Gold was up 0.42% to $1228.3/oz.

Mondi (MNDI) was up 2.35% to 1546.5p and leading the FTSE 100 risers' board.

Miners were led by gold-sensitive Randgold (RRS), up 2.22% to 5980p, with Anglo American (AAL) adding 2.15% to 1117.5p. More followed.

Barratt Developments (BDEV) was to the fore among house builders and up 2.16% to 479.65p, with Persimmon (PSN) adding 1.75% to 1740p. Commercial property was also firming.

Among other sectors on the rise were utilities, high-street retail and several financials, but banks were generally guided south by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), lower 1.39% to 205.5p.

Royal Mail (RMG) faded 4.09% to 478.5p as it posted a slightly lower H1 pretax profit from continuing operations.

BLUE-CHIP NEWS

AstraZeneca (AZN), down 0.49% to 4332.25p, has completed the licensing agreement between MedImmune and Allergan, for the global rights to MEDI2070.

Rio Tinto (RIO), up 0.22% to 2970p, has terminated the contracts of Energy & Minerals chief executive Alan Davies and Legal & Regulatory Affairs Group executive Debra Valentine. "The board concluded that the executives failed to maintain the standards expected of them under our global code of conduct."

BIGGER MOVERS

Creston (CRE), up 33.16% to 124.5p, has reported H1 headline pre-tax profits of £4.5m, up 13%, and an agreed offer from RedWhiteBlue Digital Marketing Services valuing the group at £75.8m.

Ottoman Fund Ltd (OTM), down 27.27% to 2p, has had its shares reported after announcing its H1 results for the period to Feb. 29. It posted an H1 pretax loss of £0.6m, from a profit of &pound1.5m.

Better Capital (BCAP) has been informed by the General Partner of BECAP12 Fund LP that, after an intra-group restructuring, the business and assets of CAV have been acquired by Northern Aerospace Limited, a special purpose vehicle within the same group.

Karelian Diamond Resources (KDR), down 13.64% to 0.47p, is proposing a capital reorganisation to be voted on by shareholders at the AGM. It also unveiled a wider FY pretax loss.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Keras Resources (KRS), up 9.52% to 0.57p, has started the initial drilling campaign at its flagship Klondyke gold project, located in the prospective Warrawoona goldfield in the East Pilbara district of the Pilbara goldfield of Western Australia.

Scisys (SSY), up 8.67% to 106.5p, directors anticipate the group will deliver adjusted operating profit (before exceptional items and share based payments) and revenues for the year to 31 December 2016 ahead of current market guidance.

Hill & Smith (HILS), up 7.93% to 1306p, said trading in the period from 1 July to end-October has continued to be encouraging and it expects its FY performance to be at the top end of market views.

RedstoneConnect (REDS), up 7.27% to 1.48p, announces the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Commensus Plc for a total of £2.4m.

Kingspan (KGP), up 3.41% to 22.63p, has completed a €250m private placement loan note with an average fixed annual coupon of 1.48% for an average term of 9 years. €32m of the proceeds will be used in March to meet a scheduled loan note maturity with an annual coupon of 4.15%.

Shanta Gold (SHG), up 3.41% to 11.38p, has received the advanced payment of $5.25m as part of its silver streaming agreement (SSA), as announced 6 May 2016.

Safestore (SAFE), up 2.97% to 357.6p, has improved its Q4 revenue to £32.8m, from £27.7m, with FY revenue up at £115.4m, from £104.8m. They were also up on a like-for-like basis.

Ted Baker (TED), up 2.94% to 1574.5p, said its directors remain confident of the company making further progress for the full year, noting the 12-month performance will be dependent on trading during the important Christmas period.

WS Atkins (ATK), down 2.23% to 1623p, reports good overall results for the six months to the end of September with underlying profit before tax up 14.0%. The full year outlook is unchanged.

Majestic Wine (WINE), up 1.57% to 306.5p, has swung to an H1 reported pretax loss of £4.4m, from a year-ago profit of £4.3m. Interim dividend was 1.5p a share, from nil. Revenue improved to £205.6m, from £181.6m.

Other stocks in the news included Kier (KIE), TClarke (CTO), Watkin Jones (WJG), CRH (CRH), Keywords Studios (KWS), ZOO Digital (ZOO), Great Portland Estates (GPOR), Tracsis (TRCS), QinetiQ (QQ.) and Johnson Matthey (JMAT).