FTSE flies on resources as commodity prices rise

London stocks stormed ahead in early deals as resources stacked on heady gains alongside rises in the prices of crude oil and gold, albeit as the US dollar once again tiptoed lower.

FTSE 100 was up 52.91 points, or 0.78%, to 6830.87, while FTSE 250 was up 130.83, or 0.75%, to 17,658.4. The dollar-spot index was down 0.21% to $100.840.

At about 8.38am, WTI crude was up 3.94% to $47.49/bbl and Brent was up 0.33% to $49.06/bbl. The market is anticipating an OPEC production cap when it meets next week. Gold was up 0.56% to $1216.6/oz.

Miners were big winners. Anglo American (AAL) added 5.23% to 1181.25p, while BHP Billiton (BLT) rose 4.15% to 1324.25p. These and other miners rounded out the top-five FTSE 100 gainers.

Oil majors were further back. Shell (RDSA) added 0.83% to $2030.25, while BP (BP.) firmed 0.83% to 460.05p. Overall, blue-chip risers outnumbered fallers about 90 to 10.

Other stocks progressing included insurers, pharmas, banks, commercial property and US rates-sensitive utilities.

To the southside, Compass (CPG), down 3.49% to 1342.5p, led the pack as it reported operating profits up 5.6% at £1.45bn and EPS up 7.8% at 61.1p. FY dividend was 31.7p is up 7.8%.

Kingfisher (KGF), down 1.45% to 364.35p, reports a solid overall Q3 performance with like-for-like sales up 1.8% driven by the UK and Poland. In the Uk & Ireland, total sales were up 2.5%. LFL +5.8% reflecting continued strong Screwfix performance and solid B&Q performance.

MORE BLUE-CHIP NEWS

Intertek (ITRK), down 0.52% to 3227p, said it is on track to deliver robust earnings growth in 2016 with recent acquisitions contributing £200m of additional revenues.

AstraZeneca (AZN), up 0.76% to 4358.25p, said the US FDA has lifted the partial clinical hold on the enrolment of new patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) for clinical trials of durvalumab as monotherapy and in combination with tremelimumab or other potential medicines.

AO World (AO.), up 0.15% to 168.25p, said total H1 revenue rose 22.9% to £324.7m as both UK and Europe growth continued. Group adjusted EBITDA was £1.5m, from a £4.5m loss.

BIGGER MOVERS

Lavendon (LVD), up 28.78% to 179p, noted that Libra Bidco, a subsidiary of TVH, has announced a final cash offer of 205p a share. The offer, which is at a premium, values Lavendon at about £348m.

URU Metals (URU), down 22.73% to 0.43p, has raised £640,000 from institutional and other investors through a placing of 160m new shares at 0.4p each.

Solid State (SOLI), down 12.22% to 395p, has turned in an H1 pretax profit of £1.64m, from a profit of £1.49m. Interim dividend was 4p a share, unchanged. The offer is subject to, among other factors, an acceptance condition of 75%.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Westminster Group (WSG), down 10.92% to 19.38p, has signed agreements for the issuance of £1.2m of Convertible Unsecured Loan Notes (CULN) to support expansion programmes with additional financial resources.

Severfield (SFR), up 10.25% to 68.63p, posted an H1 after-tax profit of £6.2m, from £2.6m, with revenue improving to £118.2m, from £117.1m.

Cambria Automobiles (CAMB), down 8.09% to 62.5p, said its FY revenue increased 17.3% to £614.2m. Underlying pretax profit rose 37.7% to £10.6m.

Scapa Group (SCPA), up 6.44% to 303.63p, has more than doubled its H1 pretax profit to £8.5m, from £3.3m. Directors believe the group will deliver FY results ahead of views, benefitting from both improved trading and currency.

Rotork (ROR), up 6.09% to 212.6p, said it now expects reported revenue to be towards the top end of market expectations. It continued that the trading environment is anticipated to remain challenging across most of its key markets and geographies.

Union Jack Oil (UJO), up 6.06% to 0.18p, said the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has now approved the acquisition by the company of a further 3.34% interest in PEDL180 and PEDL182 from Europa Oil & Gas Ltd.

Focusrite (TUNE), up 5.15% to 173.5p, has improved its FY pretax profit to £7.1m, from £6.5m. Proposed final dividend was lifted to 1.3p a share, taking the total to 1.95p, from 1.8p.

Accsys (AXS), down 3.68% to 65.5p, has posted an H1 pretax loss of €2.9m, up from €0.1m last time. Renew Holdings (RNWH),down 2.73% to 401p, has improved its FY pretax profit to £19.4m, from £16.1m. Revenue came in at £525.7m, from £519.6m. Dividend was 8p a share, from 7p.

Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX), up 0.78% to 4254p, said it still has much to do in the remainder of this year but that its overall FY expectations are unchanged and the board has confidence the group will make further progress in 2016.

Other stocks in the news included HomeServe (HSV), De La Rue (DLAR), CityFibre (CITY), Victoria (VCP), BGEO (BGEO), Midatech Pharma (MTPH), Spectris (SXS), Big Yellow (BYG), ULS Technology (ULS), Assura (AGR) and Tissue Regenix (TRX).