UK stocks on Thursday tracks gains in the US after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting showed several policymakers argued against an interest rate hike in April. The FTSE 100 index rises 20 points, or about 0.3%, to 6,181.
Miners BHP Billiton (BLT), Rio Tinto (RIO) and Anglo American (AAL) are among the stocks leading the FTSE 100 higher as commodity prices post broad-based gains and emerging markets currencies strengthen against the dollar. Markets are being driven by commentary released by US central bank the Federal Reserve yesterday which indicate interest rate rises will continue to be gradual with an April increase now considered unlikely.
Billiton gains 2.1% to 748p, Rio Tinto adds 1% to £19.55 and Anglo increases 1.6% to 531p.
Unloved high street icon Marks & Spencer (MKS) is marked up 7.5p (1.8%) to 428p despite unveiling a mixed fourth quarter update, new CEO Steve Rowe making his City-facing debut. While the national institution's food business again outperformed the market, like-for-like sales were disappointingly flat and M&S also reports weak ongoing trade in its UK general merchandising (GM) division, where like-for-like sales sagged 2.7%. Investor optimism reflects the new leader's determined comments that 'although the sales decline in Clothing and Home was lower than last quarter, our performance remains unsatisfactory and there is still more we need to do. Turning around our Clothing and Home business by improving our customer offer is our number one priority.'
The identification of some fairly serious typos in yesterday's announcement of new independent resource report is hitting Alaska focused oil firm 88Energy (88E:AIM), down 20.8% to 2.58p. Most notably the company previously said the 1.4 billion barrel of prospective resources identified on its Project Icewine encompassed just 42% of the acreage but now says the report, from independent consultant DeGolyer and MacNaughton, covers the entirety of the acreage.
Connemara Mining (CON:AIM) soars 130%-odd to 3.15p after saying drilling in Inishowen produced a best intercept in the third hole (16-MR-03), below a gold bearing trench, with 3.05m grading at 5.8g/t Au, including a 0.65m interval at 11.31g/t Au and 0.39m at 26.07g/t Au.
Media minnow Mirada (MIRA:AIM) slumps 16% to 3.88p as it flags full year revenues will be significantly below market expectations albeit ahead of the previous financial year. This was despite the launch of Iris Multiscreen.
Homewares leader Dunelm (DNLM) skips 3.8% higher to 944.5p on a better-than-expected third quarter trading update that includes 'beats' on both revenue, driven by a strong winter sale performance, and on gross margin, up 90 basis points year-on-year.
Regional carrier Flybe (FLYB) slides 6% to 59.75p after a trading update revealed rising capacity but lower load factor. Management at the £129.4 million cap said seat capacity rose 2.4% during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016 while load factor at 68%, was down 2% on the same period a year earlier also adding that results for the full year were expected to be in line with market expectations.
London-centric high-end house-builder Berkeley (BKG) falls 2.2% to £32.41 on the back of concerns about an incipient slump in London house prices on the back of a slump in foreign demand for investment properties.