FTSE dips behind consumer goods as oilies up after Opec

London stocks were marginally lower in early deals with a string of blue-chip consumer goods, utilities, leisure and pharma stocks southbound. Oil majors, by contrast, were firmly higher after cartel Opec agreed a production curb in Vienna yesterday.

Soon after the open, FTSE 100 was down 9.34 points, or 0.14%, to 6774.45p, and FTSE 250 shed 43.34, or 0.25%, to 17,502.4. A multiple ex-dividend stocks were a factor, too, across the indices. At 8.39am, WTI crude was up 0.34% to $49.61/bbl. Brent gained 8.82% to $50.47/bbl.

Consumer goods titan Unilever (ULVR) dived 2.66% to 3111p, while Reckitt Benckiser (RB.) fell 1.32% to 6674p. Severn Trent (SVT), off 2.42% to 2134p, led several utilities lower, among them SSE (SSE), down 1.22% to 1457p.

Pharma outfits Glaxosmithkline (GSK), off 1.54% to 1472.5p, and Hikma (HIK), lower 1.21% to 1680.5p, were also softening. Other sectors notably retreating were commercial property, tobacco, house builders and retail-related.

Blue-chip fallers outnumbered risers about 77 to 23. Of the risers, oilies were in clear focus after the Opec deal. BP (BP.) rose 3.73% to 476.6p. Shell (RDSA) added 2.46% to 2075.75p. Other fallers were a mixed bag of sectors, although several miners in the news featured.

Glencore (GLEN), up 2.2% to 285.45p, has completed the sales of its GRail business for A$1.14bn to Genesee & Wyoming Australia and stakes totalling 49.99% in Glencore Agriculture to Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and British Columbia Investment Management for US$3.124bn.

Rio Tinto (RIO), up 0.83% to 3014.75p, said, in response to press reports regarding a US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) probe, it is cooperating with inquiries from the relevant authorities relating to the impairment included in its 2012 accounts in respect of Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique (RTCM). Rio acquired RTCM in 2011 and divested it in 2014.

Anglo American (AAL), up 2.45% to 1214p, has sold its 9.7% interest in Exxaro Resources for a discount ZAR3.0 billion (about $215 million). At 8.39am, gold was down 0.15% to $1172.1/oz.

BIGGER MOVERS

Mobile Streams (MOS), down 44.62% to 4.5p, intends to raise up to about £1.6m gross, via a placing and PrimaryBid, an offer for subscription, at 4p a share.

Formation Group (FRM), down 37.5% to 1.88p, is to seek shareholder approval to cancel its listing on AIM and apply for its ordinary shares to be admitted to trading on the ISDX Growth Market.

Red Leopard Holdings (RLH), down 33.33% to 0.06p, said that, with its consent, Northland Capital Partners has served advanced notice to terminate its engagement from Jan. 20, 2017. The company is in talks with other suitable nomads and is confident a replacement will be announced shortly.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Mercom Capital (MCC), up 20% to 18p, confirms that discussions with Calvet International Ltd regarding the proposals set out in the announcement of 27 October 2016 are ongoing.

Interquest (ITQ), down 15.33% to 29p, has warned that net-fee income and earnings for the year ending 31 December year will be below market expectations.

Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT), up 9.04% to 832p, reports a resilient performance in the year to the end of September in challenging market conditions. Adjusted operating profit declined by an underlying 11% to £277m.

Red Rock Resources (RRR), up 8.7% to 0.63p, has posted a FY pretax loss from continuing operations of £283,280, from a year-ago and materially lower loss of £7.7m.

The Character Group (CCT), up 7.47% to 467.5p, reports another excellent year of trading with revenues rising to £121.0m up 22.1% on last time. Underlying profit before tax for FY 2016 was £12.5m, this compares with underlying profit before tax of £10.2m last year.

SysGroup (SYS), down 6.96% to 53.9p, has agreed with CFO Michael Hogan that he step down from the board and leave the group with immediate effect. The Group continues to trade in line with management expectations, it said.

Impax Asset Management Group (IPX), up 6.06% to 52.5p, said its assets under management and advice rose 59% to a new peak of £4.5bn in the year to end-September, and rose further to £4.7bn by 31 October.

Inland Homes (INL), up 4.72% to 61p, said its housebuilding programme is gaining significant momentum. The specialist housebuilder and brownfield land developer said a record 394 homes are currently under construction across 12 sites.

Cluff Natural Resources (CLNR), up 3.88% to 2.68p,s has announced a significant increase in P50 Prospective Resources on its 100% owned Licence P2252 from 162 BCF to 636 BCF following technical work focusing on the Zechstein prospects located in the Southern North Sea.

Serco (SRP), up 2.22% to 135.95p, confirms it has now signed the contract with Barts Health NHS Trust for the provision of Soft Facilities Management Services. The signed contract has an estimated total contract value to Serco of about £600m over the maximum 10-year term.

Other stocks in the news included ValiRx (VAL), Grainger (GRI), Totally (TLY), Goldcrest Resources (GCRP), Clinigen (CLIN), Park Group (PKG), Vernalis (VER), Defenx (DFX), Thalassa (THAL), Digital Barriers (DGB), MXC Capital (MXCP), Watkin Jones (WJG), Rambler Metals & Mining (RMM), Pathfinder Minerals (PFP) and ITM Power (ITM).