FTSE opens slowly before Tuesday's UK inflation data

London equities opened Monday slowly and on a mixed note prior to a raft of UK inflation and EU purchasing-managers' index data, and with little in the way of corporate news about to stoke robust trading activity.

A short while after the open, FTSE 100 was down 15.45 points, or 0.21%, to 7409.51, while FTSE 250 was up 22.66, or 0.12%, to 19,117.6. At 8.38am, crude oil was modestly lower, as was copper. However, gold and silver eked out minor gains.

Vodafone (VOD), down 0.06% to 211.28p, said subsidiary Vodafone India and Idea Cellular would merge in a multi-billion dollar deal that created the largest telecoms operator in India. The merger would be one of equals, Vodafone said.

The blue-chip ladder was led down by Hikma (HIK), lower 1.25% to 2141p, and Coca-Cola HBC (CCH), down 1.2% to 1982p. Otherwise it was house builders in fobus after Taylor Wimpey (TW.), down 0.72% to 193.3p, and Barratt Developments (BDEV), down 0.51% to 540.25p.

Lenders senders as Standard Chartered (STAN), down 0.97% to 723.35p, were sprinkled throughout the losers ladder, as were a string of utilities in the wake of Severn Trent (SVT), down 0.42% to 2367p. Oil majors BP (BP.) and Shell (RDSA) slipped alongside the lower price of crude.

To the upside, Associated British Foods (ABF) led with a 1.87% rise to 2665p, but thereafter gains were strictly less than 1% and mostly below 0.5%. Commercial property tapered after Hammerson (HMSO), down 0.82% to 583.25p. Consumer goods also figured southbound.


Bushveld Minerals (BMN), up 18.54% to 5.28p, has signed a definitive Sales and Marketing Agreement with Wogen Resources Ltd. This would assist with the financing needed for the conditional acquisition by Bushveld Vametco Ltd of a 78.8% stake in Strategic Minerals Corp from Evraz Group SA.

CAP-XX (CPX), down 16.79% to 8.43p, said H1 pretax losses rose to A$1.9m, up from A$1.3m last time. Total revenue for the period was down 18% to A$1.35m. The group said this was largely due to a disruption of supply after a process change at a key raw materials supplier.

PipeHawk (PIP), up 19.05% to 3.13p, has posted an H1 pretax loss of £180,000, from a loss of £449,000. Turnover was £2.99m, from £2.36m.


Aquatic Foods (AFG) fell 13.79% to 12.5p as it said unaudited FY revenue fell 5.2% to RMB927.8m. Q4 showed revenue improvement on Q1, Q2 and Q3. Unaudited gross profit fell 19.9% to RMB224.6m.

Anglesey Mining (AYM), down 9.09% to 5p, has raised £225,000 gross via a placing of 5m new shares at 4.5p each. Net proceeds of £213,750 would be used for general working capital and for the continued development of the Parys Mountain poly-metallic project in North Wales.

Mkango Resources (MKA), up 7.14% to 3.75p, has entered into a MoU with Metalysis Ltd to jointly research, develop and commercialise novel rare earth metal alloys for use in three-dimensional (3D) printed permanent magnets.

Michelmersh Brick (MBH), up 3.93% to 59.5p, has posted a steady FY pretax profit of £4.5m, from £4.5m a year earlier. It said dividend had been doubled to 2p a share. Turnover was £30.1m, from £29.1m. The company was debt-free with a year-end cash balance of £4.7m, from £2.9m.

Hansteen (HSTN), up 3.33% to 125.85p, said its FY normalised income profit rose 29.4% to £61.1m, and that it achieved a total annual return to shareholders of 23.1p or 20.8%. The board had agred to dispose of its Germany and Netherlands portfolios for €1.28bn.

EVR Holdings (EVR), up 1.95% to 222.65p, subsidiary MelodyVR has entered into an agreement with UMG Recordings Services, a Universal Music Group subsidiary. The worldwide, multi-year agreement, licenced the creation and distribution of virtual reality content featuring UMG's artists.

Redcentric (RCN), down 1.71% to 86p, noted the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has begun an investigation after the historic overstatement of net assets and profits as described in the company's announcements in November/December 2016.

Marston's (MARS), up 0.63% to 135.35p, has agreed a new bank facility to replace the £257.5m existing facility, which was due to expire in November 2018. The new facility extended to March 2022 and comprised a £320m loan commitment, with an incremental £40m accordion facility.

Other stocks in the news included PhotonStar LED (PSL), ITM Power (ITM), SalvaRx (SALV), Carillion (CLLN), SDX Energy (SDX), John Laing Infrastructure Fund (JLIF), KAZ Minerals (KAZ), Learning Technologies (LTG), Frenkel Topping (FEN), Highland Gold Mining (HGM) and Finsbury Food (FIF).