FTSE mixed as blue chips soften on comm. property, airlines

London shares opened mixed with the FTSE 100 drifting south after a record run-up that straddled the festive season. Commercial property, airlines and financials were behind the blue-chip ladder's lapse.

Soon after the open, FTSE 100 was down 8.89 points, or 0.12%, to 7186.42. FTSE 250 was up 19.22, or 0.1%, to 18,327.40, camped out just behind an early October 2016 closing high. Top-100 index risers and fallers were roughly evenly split.

Worldpay (WPG) guided the FTSE 100 with a 2.71% rise to 285.65p, with Lloyds (LLOY) ahead 1.62% to 65.70p and Smiths (SMIN) rising 1.47% to 1446p. Airlines were flying higher behind International Consolidated Airlines (IAG), up 1.35% to 474.30p.

EasyJet (EZJ), up 0.76% to 1063p, carried 5,579,978 passengers in December, up 15.1% on the year. The load factor was 89.9%, up 86.6%. On a rolling 12 month basis, the airline carried 74,452,487 passengers, up 6.6%. Load factor was 91.5%, from 91.6%.

In commercial property, Land Securities (LAND) added 0.72% to 1050.5p, while Intu (INTU) firmed 0.5% to 280.4p. Among house builders, Persimmon (PSN) firmed 0.52% to 1950p, but its sector buddies were mostly lower.

The downside was led lower by gold-touchy miners. Fresnillo (FRES) fell 2.36% to 1365p, while Randgold (RRS) retreated 1.98% to 6572.5p. Among oilies, BP (BP.) and Shell (RDSA) were lower, while the utilities sectors was also showing softness.

At 8.35am, WTI crude was down 0.24% to $53.63/bbl, while Brent was down 0.3% to $56.72/bbl. gold was down 0.47% to $1175.70/oz, with silver and copper also retreating.

Meantime, supermarket chain M&S (MKS) dropped 2.04% to 324.05p, while Tesco (TSCO) tilted 1.06% lower to 196.95p.

BIGGER MOVERS

InfraStrata (INFA), up 55.56% to 0.7p, swung into the black in the year to the end of July, posting a profit of £66,955 against a loss of £6.1m last time.

TP ICAP (TCAP), up 10.19% to 477.55p, said the last three months of 2016 have seen an increase in trading activity compared with the prior year. Tullett Prebon's revenue for the year ended 31 December 2016 is expected to be about 12% higher than the £796.0m reported in 2015.

Fenner (FENR), up 12.42% to 265.88p, said its Q1 trading has been satisfactory and reflects the progress it has been making in all its businesses.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Physiomics (PYC), up 11.54% to 2.18p, confirm that is has been awarded the Innovate UK grant as part of its Biomedical Catalyst 2016 Feasibility Study Competition that was the subject of a provisional announcement on Nov. 22, 2016.

International Personal Finance (IPF), down 10.32% to 157.75p, said its home credit company in Poland, Provident Polska, is to appeal a decision received from the Polish Tax Chamber (the upper tier of the Polish tax authority) on 5 January with respect to its 2008 financial year.

Crawshaw (CRAW), down 6.86% to 23.75p, said it continued to build on the progress noted in its last update with the improvements in sales and customer numbers being maintained through December as planned.

C4X Discovery Holdings (C4XD), down 4.04% to 95p, has booked a FY after-tax loss of £5.3m, up from £3.1m in 2015. Digital Barriers (DGB), up 6.25% to 38.25p, has won two contracts with a total value of $7.0m.

Gear4music (G4M), up 3.5% to 517.5p, saw total sales rise to £24.4m in the four months to end-December, up 55% on the year after continued strong growth into the UK and Europe.

Zotefoams (ZTF), up 3.18% to 247.63p, has acquired full ownership of its joint venture, Kunshan ZOTEK King Lai (KZKL), from King Lai Group (King Lai).

Other stocks in the news included Sirius Real Estate (SRE), Clarkson (CKN), Osirium Technologies (OSI), Satellite Solutions Worldwide (SAT) and Ascent Resources (AST).