Gold miners are in demand in London during early trading as sterling slumps to its lowest level in 31 years.

Britain's currency dipped below $1.30 to the dollar overnight and now buys $1.29211, lower than during the 2008 financial crisis.

Gold stocks Fresnillo (FRES), up 5.3% to £19.93, and Randgold Resources (RRS), up 3.9% to £96.75, are the biggest gainers, followed by iron ore miners, utilities, alcohol and healthcare stocks.

Shares in the FTSE 100 trade 0.2% higher at 6,556.

Mid caps on the FTSE 250 index trade 0.3% lower, though there are a few bright spots.

Engineering turnaround specialist Melrose (MRO) surges 25.0% to 510p as it completes its search for a new acquisition.

Melrose is set to buy Nasdaq-listed Nortek (NTK:NDQ), a provider of air management services including home and office ventilation systems, for £1.7 billion.

The deal is being funded through a £1.6 billion rights issue at 95p a share.

Melrose has been on the hunt for a new turnaround project since it sold its biggest success story to date, Elster, to Honeywell (HON:NYSE) for $3.3 billion (£2.6 billion) in 2015.

Energy play Tullow Oil (TLW) falls 11.1% to 213.9p as it unveils plans to raise $300 million through a convertible bond issue.

Carillion (CLLN) wins up to £600 million of new support services contracts in an announcement alongside a half year trading update, sending shares 2.2% higher at 226p.

New project wins year-to-date at the civil engineer and facilities manager total £2.5 billion and trading is in-line to ahead of expectations, management say.

It is too early to determine the impact of Britain's vote to leave the EU, management says. Carillion has no operations in mainland Europe and management says it has 'robust plans to manage this outcome'.

Retail detail

In a busy day of updates from retailers, wholesaler and Shares favourite Booker (BOK) edges 1p higher to 165.4p on a solid first quarter trading update.

Group sales were 10% up year-on-year with a boost from the acquired Budgens and Londis businesses, though Booker's non-tobacco sales remain under pressure amid deflationary grocery market conditions.

Franchised motor dealer Cambria Automobiles (CAMB:AIM) accelerates 3.9% higher to 66.5p on its latest positive trading update and the £2.1 million acquisition of a Jaguar and Land Rover franchise in North London from larger rival Pendragon (PDG), a deal further developing its premium and high luxury market presence.

Tile specialist Topps Tiles (TPT) ticks 0.5p higher to 102p as it reveals better-than-expected 6.2% third quarter like-for-like sales growth, an acceleration from the 4.9% improvement seen in the previous quarter.

CEO Matthew Williams attributes the healthy result to Topps' strategy of 'Out Specialising the Specialists', initiatives to extend the appeal of the Topps brand continuing to attract new customers.

'While it is currently too early to ascertain the implications of the result of the UK referendum, we remain confident in the longer term outlook for our business and in our ability to outperform the market,' insists Williams.

Food chain in focus

Specialist meat packer Hilton Food (HFG) firms 2.3% to 564.5p after inking a co-operation agreement with leading Portuguese food retailer Sonae.

Stevia ingredients producer PureCircle (PURE:AIM) sours 3.75p to 324.5p as it reminds the market 'the trajectory of our sales growth will be uneven' and warns there'll be 'continued volatility' in the development of a business 'dependent on the pace and extent of customers' product launches'.

This cautious outlook is contained in a year-end trading update flagging 9% sales growth to not less than US$138 million, revenue held back by a number of customer product launch delays.

Small cap pharma, gold gainers

Cancer drug developer Scancell (SCLP:AIM) climbs 13.3% to 17p on a positive clinical trials update for SCIB1 in treating melanoma, a form of skin cancer.

Only one case of the disease progressing in patients where the tumour has been removed has been recorded during treatment since November 2013.

Signs that its turnaround plan is succeeding sends testing kit-maker EKF Diagnostics (EKF:AIM) 9.4% to 13p. EBITDA is ahead market expectations and is now expected to be between £3.5 million to £4 million for 2016.

The market also warmed to news of little impact from Brexit thanks to its EU offices serving customers in the region.

Kolar Gold (KGLD:AIM) increases by a third in value to 1.60p after 23.4%-owned GMSI gets $2.4 million cash injection from a third party that will facilitate new drilling on gold prospects in India. The financing will see Kolar’s stake in GMSI diluted to 20.5%.

Issue Date: 06 Jul 2016