Source - SMW
London stocks opened mixed and again cautiously as investors looked ahead to tomorrow's UK general election, with pharma stocks a notable drag on the lower blue-chip index in early deals.

A short time after the open, the FTSE 100 was down 11.2 points, or 0.15%, to 7513.75, and the FTSE 250 was up 95.96, or 0.49%, to 19,750.8. Europe was lower, too. Crude oil and metals prices were lower.

On the blue-chip chart, Shire (SHP) was leading fallers with a 1.8% fall to 4440.75p, while Glaxosmithkline (GSK) lost 0.43% to 1693.75p and Smith & Nephew (SN.) eased 0.26% to 1366.5p.

AstraZeneca (AZN), down 0.97% to 5303p, has entered an agreement with Grunenthal for the global rights to Zomig (zolmitriptan) outside Japan.

Consumer goods fell behind Unilever (ULVR), down 0.39% to 4353p, and Reckitt Benckiser (RB.), down 0.51% to 8067p. 

Also falling were a mix of banks, utilities, miners and insurers, although others in these sectors made gains. Overall, about 32 blue chips were down.

FTSE 100 winners were led by RBS (RBS), ahead 1.83% to 256.3p and leading Barclays (BARC) and Lloyds (LLOY). House builders rose after Persimmon (PSN), up 1.49% to 2380p.

Also up were multiple insurers behind Legal & General (LGEN), up 1.45% to 254.65p, and a good number of commercial stocks crept higher after British Land (BLND), up 0.4% to 630.5p.

Anglo American (AAZ), up 0.43% to 1049.5p, has appointed Stuart Chambers as Sir John Parker's successor. He would join as chair-designate on Sept. 1 and become chair from Nov. 1.

BIGGER MOVERS

Zambeef Products (ZAM) fell 19.59% to 14.88p on a plunge in its H1 pretax profit to $590,000, from $6.8m a year earlier. It said the half was impacted by the challenging economic environment in Zambia and a major drop in soft commodity prices.

Tricorn (TCN), up 15.79% to 22p, has reduced its FY pretax loss by more than half to £287,000, from a loss of £760,000 previously, amid challenging market conditions.

Distil (DIS) shed 14.49% to 2.95p after it posted a maiden FY pretax profit of £10,000, from a loss of £98,000. It noted an overall year-on-year decline in Blavod volume sales in Eastern Europe, although there was a return to growth in Q4 thanks duty free sales.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

LiDCO (LID), up 11.48% to 8.5p, has been granted clearance to market its new advanced haemodynamic monitoring platform LiDCOunity v2 by the US FDA. 

Eland Oil & Gas (ELA), down 8.94% to 56p, has announced the proposed placing of new voting ordinary shares to raise gross proceeds of between c.$14.5m and c.$19.5m. 

Providence Resources (PVR) rose 12.5% to 16.88p as it provided updates on Frontier Exploration Licences 2/14 and 16/27. Scotgold (SGZ) rose 10.53% to 0.53p as it announced that a sales agreement had been signed with two of Scotland's pre-eminent manufacturing jewellers.

Grafenia (GRA), down 8.22% to 8.38p, said its FY operating losses rose to £0.98m, up from £0.25m last time. Turnover from continuing activities fell to £10.45m from £10.77m and EBITDA totalled £0.76m, down from £1.52m.

Sula Iron & Gold (SULA), up 7.69% to 0.42p, said high-grade gold has been intersected at Southern Target TZ4, a new discovery area. "The high-grade gold found in TZ4 is a significant result for us," said CEO Roger Murphy.  

Shoe Zone (SHOE), down 6.67% to 175p, has laced in a £0.3m statutory pretax profit for its H1, down from £1.9m previously, as the devaluation of sterling against the dollar weighed. It would accelerate the roll out of its Big Box concept during H2.

Trakm8 (TRAK), up 5.73% to 120p, has been awarded an extension to an existing contract with Shell to expand the development of its Smart Charging solution. 

Midatech Pharma (MTPH), up 4.37% to 107.5p, has signed a global licensing agreement with Novartis for the oncology compound panobinostat. 

SRT Marine Systems (SRT), up 3.48% to 52p, said its FY pretax profit has improved to £1.2m, from a profit of £0.28. Revenue was £11.0m, from £10.7m.

Other stocks in the news included CAP-XX (CPX), St. Modwen (SMP), RPC (RPC), Intercede (IGP), Workspace (WKP), Banco Santander (BNC), M&C Saatchi (SAA), Share (SHRE), Dalata Hotel (DAL), EF Realisation Company (EFR), UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG), Water Intelligence (WTR), SysGroup (SYS), Diversified Gas & Oil (DGOC) and Escher Group (ESCH).