FTSE sorties higher on retail, resources

London blue chips continued on their northbound trajectory with a bevy of high-street retail, mining and oil stocks providing key impetus. Mid caps were up, too.

Soon after the open, FTSE 100 was up 11.59 points, or 0.16%, to 7109.09, continuing to sortie into fresh ground. The FTSE 250 adding 44.66, or 0.25%, to 18,023.6.

Whitbread (WTB) led the way with a 2.65% surge to 3868p, followed by Next (NXT), ahead 2.04% to 4626.5p, and Burberry (BRBY), rising 2.03% to 1509p.

Among miners it was was Rio Tinto (RIO) that piloted, added 1.88% to 2784p, with supporting cast Antofagasta (ANTO), up 1.3% to 566.25p, and Anglo American (AAL), up 1.13% to 1054.25p.

Oil majors were further back and led by Shell (RDSA), firming 0.73% to 2131.5p. Other sectors notably on the front foot included commercial property, pharmas, house builders and leisure.

Blue-chip risers outnumbered fallers 64 to 36. Most moves were muted. Informa (INF) led lower with a plunge of 8.65% to 667.75p following admission of nil-paid rights after shareholder approval for its &1.2;bn acquisition of Penton Information Services.

Airlines also continued softer, as did a number of supermarkets. Utilities were mixed.

BIGGER MOVERS

REACT Energy (REAC), up 50% to 5.25p, has signed conditional HoA with several parties to potentially fund, through a combination of equity and debt, the repowering of its 4MW biomass gasification project located in Newry, Co. Down, Northern Ireland.

Prairie Mining (PDZ), up 29.17% to 15.5p, has acquired the Debiensko Hard Coking Coal Project, a fully permitted, mine-ready project of significant global scale. This is a transformational acquisition marking Prairie's entry into the hard coking coal sector.

Entu (UK) (ENTU), down 14.29% to 21p, said the year ending Oct. 31, 2017, is expected to benefit from the company's restructure. FY EBITDA on the group's continuing activities before exceptional items was expected to be between £3.6m-£4.0m.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

RWS Holdings (RWS), up 14.25% to 287.63p, said it has enjoyed its best year ever and that directors expect group revenues to be not less than £122m, compared with £95.2m in 2015, an increase of at least 28%.

N Brown (BWNG), up 8.98% to 191.7p, has booked a FY statutory pretax profit of £21.1m, from £23.8m. Proposed interim dividend was flat at 5.67p a share. Total group revenue was up 1% to £429.4m, from £425.3m a year earlier.

McCarthy & Stone (MCS), up 7.73% to 175.6p, said that, since its last update, trading and other lead indicators are now ahead of the previous year.

Greatland Gold (GGP), up 6.9% to 0.16p, announces that drilling has commenced at its Ernest Giles project in Western Australia.

Ted Baker (TED), up 5.51% to 2548p, has hiked its H1 pretax profit to £21.5m, from £17.8m, with revenue rising to £259.5m, from £226.8m. Interim dividend was 14.8p a share, from 13.2p.

Victrex (VCT), up 6.57% to 1728.5p, said it delivered an improved performance in H2 and a good finish to 2016. The core business was in growth, with Aerospace and Automotive performing well, and a more stable performance in Oil & Gas during the second half.

RhythmOne (RTHM), up 3.94% to 36.38p, said its H1 performance is expected to be materially ahead of management expectations across several key metrics.

Hummingbird Resources (HUM), up 2.02% to 25.25p, said that, following the recent appointment of IMAGRI-SARL, civil works have now commenced at the Company's Yanfolila Gold Project in Mali.

Wood Group (WG.), up 1% to 808.5p, received the first project work authorization under a recently signed multiuse agreement with Suncor Energy, for work to be completed at its Firebag in-situ site in Alberta, Canada.

Other stocks in the news include Great Portland Estates (GPOR), Keller (KLR), 1Spatial (SPA) and Haydale Graphene (HAYD).