FTSE strengthens gains thanks to property, miners

London equities strengthened their gains to midday with a mixed bag of property, mining and utilities providing direction in what is an overall quiet market.

Approaching midday, FTSE 100 was up 27.59 points, or 0.41%, to 6777.31. FTSE 250 was up 96.34, or 0.55%, to 17,570.3.

At 11.49am, WTI crude was up 1.21% to $46.12/bbl and Brent was up 1.44% to $47.30/bbl. Gold was up 0.48% to $1229.8/oz.

To the blue-chip upside, Mondi (MNDI) gained 2.68% to 1551.5p to lead, and was chased by Carnival (CCL), up 2.35% to 4049p. Roughly 72 blue chips made gains.

Barratt Developments (BDEV), up 2.1% to 479.35p, led house builders, while British Land (BLND) guided commercial property as it rose 1.98% to 604.25p. More in each sector followed.

Anglo American (AAL) piloted miners with a 1.99% rise to 1115.75p, and was followed by gold-sensitive Randgold (RRS), up 1.75% to 5952.5p. Utilities were led by Severn Trent (SVT), up 1.56% to 2220p.

Other sectors notable on the rise included financials, tobacco, telecoms and retail.

Royal Mail (RMG) fell 5.97% to 469.1p to lead blue-chip losers. It posted a slightly lower H1 pretax profit from continuing operations. It was followed by several supermarkets.

BLUE-CHIP NEWS

AstraZeneca (AZN), down 0.29% to 4341p, has completed the licensing agreement between MedImmune and Allergan, for the global rights to MEDI2070.

Rio Tinto (RIO), up 0.44% to 2976.5p, has terminated the contracts of Energy & Minerals chief executive Alan Davies and Legal & Regulatory Affairs Group executive Debra Valentine.

ECONOMIC NEWS

Euro-zone's consumer-price index (CPI), a measure of inflation, rose 0.5% in October, which was ahead of views for 0.4% and from 0.3% in September.

UK retail sales rose 7.4% in October, compared with a year ago, data from Office for National Statistics showed. Expectations were for a rise o 5.3%. Versus September, UK retails rose 1.9%.

Italy's trade surplus for September was €3.67bn, from a downwardly revised surplus of €2.494bn. The market had expected a surplus of €2.85bn.

BIGGER MOVERS

Creston (CRE), up 31.02% to 122.5p, 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 £1.5m.

Golden Saint (GSR) fell 23.53% to 0.03p on news it had raised £400,000 at 0.03p a share. Proceeds would go to developing exploration programmes and providing general working capital for bulk-sampling operations and the purchase of plant and equipment.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Better Capital (BCAP), up 8.76% to 105.5p, 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 9.09% to 0.5p, is proposing a capital reorganisation to be voted on by shareholders at the AGM. It also unveiled a wider FY pretax loss.

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 8.16% to 106p, 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.

Majestic Wine (WINE), up 4.97% to 316.75p, 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.

Safestore (SAFE), up 4.28% to 362.15p, 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. RedstoneConnect (REDS), up 5.45% to 1.45p, announces the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Commensus Plc for a total of £2.4m.

Hill & Smith (HILS), up 3.6% to 1253.5p, 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.

Shanta Gold (SHG), down 2.27% to 10.75p, has received the advanced payment of $5.25m as part of its silver streaming agreement (SSA), as announced 6 May 2016.

Ted Baker (TED), up 2.86% to 2572.5p, 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.

Other stocks in the news included Kingspan (KGP), WS Atkins (ATK), 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).