FTSE lower on miners, financials amid Brexit pall

London equities ended the session lower with miners and financials dragging the blue-chip ladder down throughout the day. The festering Brexit sore continues to undermine market sentiment.

A High Court case got underway on whether ministers can invoke Article 50 without MPs passing a new law. Traders will be eyes-peeled to see how this plays out, given sterling's weakness and the FTSE's recent run-up.

Standard Life (SL.) led the top-100 index south with a fall of 5.07% to 331.2p, with fellow insurer Prudential (PRU) flopping 4.59% to 1383p. Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) lost 2.99% to 1200p despite reporting a rise in AUA.

Anglo American (AAL), off 4.81% to 990.5p, noted a Kumba Iron Ore subsidiary has been granted the residual 21.4% undivided share of the mining right for the Sishen mine.

Miners traced Rio Tinto (RIO), lower 4.86% to 2576p, with more following close behind. Also southbound were consumer goods, supermarkets and multiple high-street retailers.

Unilever (ULVR), down 2.79% to 3619.5p, has reported nine-month underlying sales growth of 4.2%, ahead of its markets, with price up 2.8% and volume up 1.3%.

At the close, FTSE 100 was down 46.27 points, or 0.66%, to 6977.74. FTSE 250 was down 79.17, or 0.44%, to 17,877.1. Overall, ex-dividend stocks also acted as ballast.

About 68 blue chips fell, about 37 of by 1% or more. To the upside, it was utilities and house builders, the latter helped by new data showing UK house prices rose again in September.

United Utilities (UU.) added 2.73% to 940p, while Persimmon (PSN) gained 2.01% to 1725p. Commercial property also eked out gains, as did several pharmas.

Meantime, Sky (SKY), down 1.94% to 847.75p, said its Q1 sales rising 13% to £3.15bn, or up 5% on a like-for-like basis. "We are on track as we enter our busy Q2 trading period."


DiamondCorp (DCP) said 74%-owned subsidiary Lace Diamond Mines (Pty) Ltd has been issued with a Section 54 shut down notice on underground operations at the Lace diamond mine by the South African Department of Mineral Resources (DMR). DCP fell 42.61% to 1.65p.

Porta Communications (PTCM), up 20% to 3.75p, said Steffan Williams, formerly group MD, has become CEO. David Wright, previously CEO, was now executive chair. His predecessor, Bob Morton, stepped down due to health issues. John Foley is now senior independent director.

Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP), down 14.74% to 1.33p, confirms the scheme of arrangement linked to its balance-sheet restructuring transaction became effective today. The expected settlement date for the scheme was Oct. 14. It also confirmed several board changes.


US import prices firmed 0.1% in September, as expected, the Labor Department said. This followed an unrevised decline of 0.2% in August. US initial unemployment claims remained unchanged at 246,000, seasonally adjusted, for the week to Oct. 8, Labor Department said.

UK house prices firmed in September, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said. Its house-price balance was 17%, which was ahead of expectations and up on August's rise of 12%. Germany's final consumer-price index (CPI), a measure of inflation, for September rose 0.1%, which was in line with forecasts and unchanged from August.


Sula Iron & Gold (SULA), up 14.29% to 0.12p, has conditionally raised $400,000 gross via a subscription for 304.6m new shares at 0.1p per subscription share.

GoldStone Resources (GRL), down 13.33% to 1.95p, said a former director and employee has made a claim in The Labour Court of South Africa relating to the termination of his employment. The sum sought would represent a significant proportion of Goldstone's cash resources.

Iofina (IOF), down 10.75% to 11.38p, said it produced 125.1 metric tonnes (MT) of crystalline iodine in Q3 2016, and has produced 380.7 MT year to date from its five IOsorb plants in Oklahoma.

Scholium (SCHO), down 9.21% to 34.5p, said its H1 sales were materially below the level achieved last year, however at a significantly increased margin, as a result of which directors expect a small loss.

Sterling Energy (SEY), down 6.49% to 16.13p, said non-executive chair Nicholas Clayton and non-executive directors Keith Henry and Malcolm Pattinson have quit due to strategic differences on the company's future direction. CEO Eskil Jersing would become interim chair.

Crimson Tide (TIDE), up 8.85% to 3.08p, has signed its most significant long term contract with a large UK retailer. The contract value is worth over £1.7m of additional revenue over an initial term of 48 months.

Coats Group (COA), up 8.15% to 36.5p, expects its adjusted FY operating profit to be ahead of its previous views. Additionally, improvements to non-operating items will further benefit adjusted EPS, providing current foreign exchange rates persist until the end of the year.

Anglo Asian Mining (AAZ), down 5.95% to 19.75p, has provided an operations and production update from its Gedabek gold, copper and silver mine in western Azerbaijan for the three months to Sept. 30, 2016.

DekelOil Public (DKL), down 3.41% to 10.63p, has issued a production and sales update for the quarter to Sept. 30. CloudBuy (CBUY), down 2.38% to 5.13p, has inked an agreement with UOB, a leading bank in Asia for its marketplace technology to power a new online marketplace.

Other stocks in the news were Haydale Graphene Industries (HAYD), Vianet (VNET), Ideagen (IDEA), Polo Resources (POL), Versarien (VRS), Collagen Solutions (COS), Kolar Gold (KGLD), WH Smith (SMWH) and ICAP (IAP).