London blue chips slipped away from their positive start to be lower to midday as falls among banks, house builders, commercial property and pharmaceuticals weighed. Mid caps were a whisker ahead, however. Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) led lenders and financials as it fell 2.47% to 199.25p, chased by Provident Financial (PFG), down 2.02% to 3037.5p, and Lloyds (LLOY), off 1.77% to 59.87p. In property, the pack was guided by commercial outfit Intu (INTU), lower 1.42% to 307.95p, and residential firm Persimmon (PSN), down 0.99% to 1841.5p. Pharmas followed AstraZeneca (AZN), down 0.79% to 4899.25p. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), down 0.71% to 1643.25p, has announced the positive results from the pioneering Salford Lung Study. Several insurers were tapering, as were a number of high-street retailers, supermarkets and beverages specialists. Blue-chip losers outnumbered winners 58 to 42. On the upside, the ladder was studded with resources stocks. Shell (RDSA) firmed 1.42% to 1897p, while Anglo American (AAL) appreciated 1.76% to 822.25p. At 11.39am, WTI crude was up 2.43% to $45.52/bbl and Brent was up 2.48% to $47.99/bbl. Gold was ahead 0.28% to $1330.4. Several US rates-sensitive utilities were also on the up. Approaching noon, FTSE 100 was down 14.14 points, or 0.21%, to 6880.46, while FTSE 250 gained just 4.33, or 0.02%, to 18,020.8. BIGGER MOVERS Pantheon Resources (PANR), down 37.25% to 94.13p, has confirmed the cessation of drilling operations at the VOBM#2 well and provided an update on the fracture stimulation remediation process at VOS#1 well. Tethys (TPL), down 33.33% to 1.25p, said Olisol has not met certain funding requirements and considered it to be in breach of an Investment Agreement. Tethys continued to work with Olisol to complete the private placement, same time evaluating alternative funding arrangements. 88 Energy (88E), down 15.91% to 2.78p, has updated on Icewine #2, commenting a revision to the well design had resulted in a desirable scenario for the company and its shareholders. It now had a more efficient, lower-cost outcome that optimised achievement of the operational objectives targeted by the Icewine #2 well. ECONOMIC NEWS UK's services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for August printed to 52.9, from July's seven-year nadir of 47.4, data from Market/CIPS showed. Euro zone's final services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for August came in at 52.8, against a forecast for and July reading of 53.1. Euro-zone retail sales accelerated 1.1% in July, following on from a 0.1% fall in June, data from Eurostat showed. On an annual basis, retail sales were up 0.4%. This after UK prime minister Theresa May received Brexit warnings from US and Japan at G20 over the weekend, with Wall St and Asian stock markets progressing overnight. LONDON HIGHLIGHTS Frontera Resources (FRR), up 10.53% to 0.11p, has upgraded the gas potential and announced progress from oil and gas operations in Georgia. Koovs (KOOV), up 9.24% to 65p, reported strong sales growth of 115% year on year in the four months to end-July, and a significant increase in brand awareness from <1% to 18%. Vipera (VIP), down 7.89% to 4.38p, has reported a year so far of steady progress, as it narrowed its first-half pretax loss and improved its revenue. FinnAust Mining (FAM), up 7.48% to 5.75p, has significantly increased its land position in Greenland via the proposed acquisition of 100% of Avannaa Exploration, a mineral exploration company with several advanced projects in the south-west of the country. Hunting (HTG), up 5.66% to 487.75p, said its H1 operating losses rose to $77.0m, up from $63.1m last time. Pretax profit was £1.2m, from a year-ago loss of £4.5m. Cambria Automobiles (CAMB), up 4.48% to 70p, is confident of delivering results for the full year in line with the revised market expectations. Scisys (SSY), up 3.55% to 87.5p, has won a contract by the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) to deliver further research and software development services to the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). Dechra (DPH), up 4.23% to 1355p, reports a strong financial performance for the year to the end of June. Undelying EBITDA rose 22.7% to £58.0m. Green Dragon Gas (GDG), down 1.31% to 245p, is in talks with Nordic Trustee ASA, which acts as trustee for the holder of the $88m senior secured bonds issued by Green Dragon Gas and certain key bondholders regarding a request for certain waivers of its financial covenants. Other stocks in the news included StatPro (SOG), Wizz Air (WIZZ), Carillion (CLLN), Plus500 (PLUS), RedstoneConnect (REDS), LondonMetric Property (LMP), Urals Energy (UEN), Vela Technologies (VELA), Fishing Republic (FISH), Union Jack Oil (UJO), Craven House Capital (CRV), Vectura (VEC) and Atalaya Mining (ATYM).
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