FTSE mixed as resources, pharmas weigh on blue chips

London stocks have opened mixed -- the blue-chip ladder down and the mid-cap index up -- with a string of big-ticket miners, pharmas, oilies and financials headed south.

Antofagasta (ANTO) led the blue-chip gang down with a 4.02% slide to 699.25p, and was chased by Fresnillo (FRES), off 2.74% to 1243p and BHP Billiton (BLT), lower 2.12% to 1325.75p.

Among oilies, Shell (RDSA) faded 0.8% to 1973.5p and BP (BP.) ebbed 0.97% to 447.88p.

At 8.42am, WTI crude was down 0.89% to $46.66/bbl and Brent was down 0.91% to $47.80/bbl. Gold was down 0.16% to $1191.9/oz. Three-month industrial metals prices were mixed.

Soon after the open, FTSE 100 was down 29.64 points, or 0.44%, to 6769.83, while FTSE 250 was up 15.01, or 0.09%, to 17,533.30.

Stocks and commodities prices are amid a period of turbulence given political change afoot in the UK and US, and elsewhere. Crude prices are being buffeted by a global glut and will be impacted by Opec's meeting on Nov. 30 when a production cap is hoped for.

Returning to the blue-chip ladder, pharmas were guided south by Hikma (HIK), off 1.43% to 1651p, and Shire (SHP), lower 0.92% to 4676.75p. A range of financials softened after Direct Line (DLG), down 1.32% to 348.25p, and Admiral (ADM), lower 1.12% to 1894.5p.

Overall, FTSE 100 fallers outnumbered risers about 63 to 37. To the upside the story was one of house builders behind Barratt (BDEV), up 1.8% to 473.9p, and commercial property in the wake of British Land (BLND), up 0.21% to 598.75p.

BLUE-CHIP NEWS

BT Group (BT.A), down 0.66% to 347.98p, said Mike McTighe has been appointed the first chairman of Openreach.

Merlin Entertainments (MERL), up 0.79% to 433.05p, anticipates reporting good profit growth in 2016, in line with expectations.

BIGGER MOVERS

Mosman Oil & Gas (MSMN), down 27.94% to 1.23p, said Cue Energy Resources has advised that it will not close the acquisition with Mosman as the pre-emptive right held by a subsidiary of Gale Force has been exercised. Mosman has referred the matter to its lawyers.

Sierra Rutile (SRX), down 24.48% to 27p, has received notice from Iluka noting geotechnical risks at two dams that form part of the company's operations, and that such risks will result in the non-satisfaction of the material adverse change condition precedent under the Merger Implementation Agreement. Iluka has also indicated it will not proceed to closing the Merger on Nov. 29, as expected.

Pantheon Resources (PANR), down 20.19% to 72.63p, has issued an operational update covering VOBM#3 and VOBM#4. Of the former, Pantheon said given the variability in flow data, it is impossible at this early stage to make an accurate prediction of the well's potential, but data received to date suggested the well would be a commercial producer.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

ValiRx (VAL) has gained 12.24% to 6.88p after issuing a quarterly update on clinical developments.

Nostra Terra (NTOG), up 29.63% to 1.75p, announces the acquisition of an 80% Working Interest in certain oil and gas interests comprising the Pine Mills oil field and associated assets in Wood County, Texas, which completed today.

Orogen Gold (ORE), up 10.34% to 0.02p, has provided an update on its step-out drilling programme at the Mutsk gold project in southern Armenia, commenting that it has already confirmed that gold mineralisation extends for more than 1km with scope for further expansion.

Satellite Solutions Worldwide (SAT), up 10.17% to 8.13p, said due to the strong performance of the combined existing and acquired businesses, the financial results for the year to 30 November 2016 are expected to be ahead of current market views.

Park Group (PKG), up 6.15% to 69p, has narrowed its H1 pretax loss to £0.76m, from a loss of £1.4m. Revenue totalled £72.4m, from £72.1m. Dividend per share was 0.95p, fro 0.85p. H2 has started well and trading is in line with expectations.

Versarien (VRS), down 6% to 11.75p, has widened its H1 pretax loss to £1.47m, from a year-ago loss of £0.84m, and confirmed a significant graphene order. Revenue was £1.6m, from £2.4m. The result included exceptional costs of £0.47m from factory relocation and acquisition.

Crawshaw (CRAW), up 5.56% to 23.75p, has noted the recent movement in its share price and confirmed the group continues to trade in line with management expectation. IG Design Group (IGR), up 5.42% to 291.5p, said its sales rose 21.5% to £145.5m in H1. Pretax profits rose 57.5% before exceptional items and LTIP charges to £8.2m.

Judges Scientific (JDG), up 4.27% to 1405p, has acquired EWB Solutions Ltd, a maker of scientific devices. The deal is seen as immediately earnings enhancing. The purchase price totalled £1.76m cash.

Other stocks in the news included SSP Group (SSPG), GB Group (GBG), Patisserie Holdings (CAKE), MySale (MYSL), Mariana Resources (MARL), Countryside (CSP), Dunelm (DNLM), Shaftesbury (SHB), Sound Energy (SOU), Cranswick (CWK), Volga Gas (VGAS), Gooch & Housego (GHH), LSL (LSL), EasyHotel (EZH), Cyprotex (CRX) and Proactis (PHD).