FTSE embarked on a positive note Friday with a mixed bag of pharmas, utilities, gold-focused miners and a weaker sterling helping blue-chip gains. Key indices in Europe were riding higher as well. AstraZeneca (AZN), up 5.13% to 4991.25p, and MedImmune, its global biologics research and development arm, announced positive trial results for lung cancer drug Imfinzi (durvalumab). It was followed by Glaxosmithkline (GSK), up 1.09% to 1645.25p, and Smith & Nephew (SN.), up 0.42% to 1314.5p. Several utilities followed Centrica (CNA), up 0.55% to 193.25p. Gold-focused miners Fresnillo (FRES), up 0.33% to 1508p, and Randgold (RRS), up 0.24% to 7167.5p, also contributed. Sterling fell on the dollar and euro, helping the FTSE 100 up. The market continued to digest the implication of Bank of England's rate call and forecasts on inflation and average earnings. To the downside proceedings were led by another pharma, Hikma (HIK), off 2.12% to 1757p. Several banks slipped, as did oil majors to a very limited extent as crude prices edged up. Multi-commodity miners Glencore (GLEN), down 1.12% to 286.8p, and BHP Billiton (BLT), down 0.79% to 1164.25p, guided several of their sector pals. Provident Financial (PFG), down 0.77% to 3240p, said its Q1 trading performance was consistent with the market consensus established following the group's Capital Markets Day in early April. BIGGER MOVERS Ithaca Energy (IAE) rose 21.74% to 107.75p on stating that Delek Group, via DKL Investments Ltd, intended to compulsorily acquire the shares in the company it did not already own at a cash price of C$1.95 each. Filtronic (FTC), up 22.5% to 12.25p, said it expected revenues and operating profits for the year ending 31 May to be ahead of market forecasts. West African Minerals (WAFM), up 15.38% to 3.75p, said the scoping study on the Sanaga Iron Ore Project indicated robust economics and favourable capital and operating cost fundamentals for an open pit iron ore mine and concentrator using transportation to the Cameroon coast. LONDON HIGHLIGHTS Afarak (AFRK), down 10.81% tio 82.5p, registered its highest quarterly result since entering the mineral business in 2008 with first quarter revenues up 39% at €56.7m and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rising to €12.7m from €3.3m. Arian Silver (AGQ), up 2.94% to 0.88p, has reported positive lithium results from a preliminary sampling programme following its option agreement to acquire three prospective lithium projects in Zacatecas State. Tower Resources (TRP), last at 2.38p, shares have been suspended on AIM at its request pending clarification of its financial circumstances, with the company adding it was mulling options that included a possible appointment of administrators. Symphony Environmental Technologies (SYM), up 2.52% to 15.25p, said its board has reported that the business continued to trade and grow in line with expectations. TT Electronics (TTG), up 1.52% to 199.75p, said trading in the four months to the end of April 2017 was in line with its expectations overall. Hydrodec (HYR), down 1.03% to 2.4p, said its revenues for the year ended 31 December from the continuing core re-refining business increased by over 100% to US$16.8m (2015: US$8.2m). Redefine International (RDI), down 0.26% to 38.34p, has signed a 15-year lease with TK Maxx for a new 22,000 sq ft store at Albion Street, Derby. Othre stocks in the news included Driver (DVR), President Energy (PRES), Savannah Resources (SAV), Sula Oil & Gold (SULA), Lucara Diamond (LUC), Custodian REIT (CREI), John Menzies (MNZS), Saffron Energy (SRON), Alecto Minerals (ALO) and Hibernia REIT (HBRN).
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