FTSE ahead on miners, aided by pharmas, utilities

London equities firmed in early deals as blue-chip miners, supported by several pharmas and utilities, were northbound.

Anglo American (AAL) stacked on 3.49% to 1033.25p, while BHP Billiton (BLT) added 2.97% to 1237.75p and Randgold Resources (RRS) firmed 2.11% to 7030p. More followed.

Of other blue chips rising, Hikma (HIK) added 1.3% to 2024p and led several pharmas, while United Utilities (UU.) was up 1.21% to 941.25p and pilotiing a number of utilities.

Risers outnumbered fallers about 57 to 43. Most gains, excepting metals diggers, were muted.

Vodafone India has acquired spectrum in all its key telecom circles in the spectrum auction for a total cost of INR202.8bn (or about €2.74bn). Vodafone Plc (VOD) rose 0.31% to 223.18p.

AstraZeneca (AZN), up 0.28% to 5040p, has agreed with Cilag GmbH International, an affiliate of Johnson & Johnson, for the divestment of the rights to Rhinocort Aqua outside the US.

Soon after the open, FTSE 100 was up 27.64 points, or 0.39%, to 7027.6. FTSE 250 firmed 44.93, or 0.25%, to 18,160.8.

At 8.28am, WTI crude was up 0.4% to $50.64/bbl and Brent was up 0.46% to $52.75/bbl. Gold was up 0.29% to $1256.6/oz.

To the downside the story was essentially told by airlines, supermarkets and house builders. EasyJet (EZJ) fell 3.56% to 900.25p and IAG (IAG) faltered 3.2% to 369.1p.

Supermarkets traipsed lower behind Marks & Spencer (MKS), off 3.01% to 320.65p, and Sainsbury (SBRY), lower 1.88% to 240.3p. House builders trailed Barratt (BDEV), down 2.26% to 493.6p.


Brammer (BRAM), down 40.33% to 75.63p, warns it does not expect to report a pretax profit for the year ending 31 December and no final dividend will be proposed.

Tern (TERN), down 32.26% to 7.88p, has raised about £2.55m gross via a placing of 36.4m new shares at 7p each. Subscribers would receive a warrant for 1 share for every 2 shares purchased, at a price per warrant of 12p.

Armadale (ACP), up 29.17% to 3.88p, confirms a preliminary discovery of high-grade coarse-flake graphite mineralisation close to the surface at its Mahenge Liandu project in Tanzania.


EKF Diagnostics (EKF), up 15.42% to 16.88p, is confident revenues and adjusted EBITDA for 2016 will exceed the high end of current market forecasts.

Milestone (MSG), up 7.84% to 1.38p, said its Nexstar JV with Black Cactus has just distributed its first independent film, Brash Young Turks, to the Amazon Prime global streaming service.

Future (FUTR), up 6.83% to 8.76p, said overall trading has been positive and is expected to be in line with the board's forecasts.

TomCo Energy (TOM), up 5.88% to 0.09p, has provided an update on the proposed palm oil milling operation in the Makeni oil palm belt in Sierra Leone.

European Wealth (EWG), up 0.96% to 52.5p, has agreed to acquire certain assets of Towry Asset Management Limited for a maximum consideration of £1.0 million.

Custodian REIT (CREI), up 0.48% to 105.5p, has acquired a 44,643 sq ft distribution unit on Heartlands Business Park, Daventry, within 10 miles of junction 16 of the M1 and the M45.

Workspace Group (WKP), down 0.44% to 680.5p, has been granted planning permission for the redevelopment of Mare Street Studios in Hackney.

Empiric Student Property (ESP), up 0.22% to 116.5p, has acquired the freeholds of five operating properties, one in Exeter, two in Leicester and two in Portsmouth, with a total of 464 beds, for £26.69m cash.

Other stocks in the news included Blue Capital Global Reinsurance Fund (BCGR), SyQic (SYQ), Sound Energy (SOU) and Beowulf Mining (BEM).