Source - SMW
London blue chips are racing ahead thanks to a markedly lower sterling caused by Britons returning a hung parliament in the general election.

With 646 of 650 seats counted so far, the results included the Tories with 315 seats, Labour on 261, Scottish National Party at 35, the Lib Dems on 12 and the Democratic Unionist Party with 10.

At about 8.27am, sterling was down 1.82% to $1.2720. The British currency was down 1.59% to €1.1367. Both pairs were off earlier knee-jerk lows; the market had yet to fully digest the vote results and its implications.

Soon after the open, the FTSE 100 was up 92.71 points, or 1.24%, to 7542.69, while the FTSE 250 was down 75.68, or 0.38%, to 19,667.7. Blue chips tended to benefit from sterling weakness, while mid caps do not.

The CQ Energy Canada Partnership - the Canadian E&P joint venture in which Centrica (CNA) owned a 60% stake - was to be sold to a consortium comprising MIE Holdings, The Can-China Global Resource Fund and Mercuria for C$722m in cash. CNA's shares rose 3.27% to 205.3p.

Miners were doing well after Fresnillo (FRES), up 2.58% to 1708p, and BHP Billiton (BLT), up 2.35% to 1210.75p. Oil majors advanced behind BP (BP.), up 1.63% to 463.78p, and Shell (RDSA), up 1.47% to 2088.75p.

Other sectors making early progress included pharmas, consumer goods and tobacco. The downside was led by Babcock International (BAB), which fell 3.41% to 878p.

House builders were notable among the list of about 32 blue-chip losers. Taylor Wimpey (TW.) dropped 3.38% to 177.3p, while Barratt Developments (BDEV) eased 2.97% to 572.5p. Several banks and commercial property stocks were also lower.

ELECTION OUTCOME

Prime Minister Theresa May's plans to crush Labour in her snap general election crumbled as the UK returned a hung parliament at the ballot box, throwing the country's Brexit negotiating position into the spotlight.

May's party had needed 326 seats to rule parliament in its own right, but election results to date revealed such an outcome was not going to happen. At face value, the result appeared to be quite some distance of May's pledge for a "strong and stable" government.

May pledged to continue as PM. Her negotiating strategy for Brexit had also been dealt a severe blow; so-called 'Remainers' now held a majority across all parties. The PM had repeatedly raised the spectre of a 'hard Brexit'.

Brexit negotiations were due to start in coming weeks.

BIGGER MOVERS

HaloSource (HALO), down 45.16% to 0.43p, has warned it would have to initiate insolvency proceedings and suspend trading on AIM if it failed to complete its £1.9m fundraising by the end of the month.

Stellar Diamonds (STEL) rose 20.31% to 9.62p after notification that non-executive director Steven Poulton had bought 85,000 shares at 7.4p each, taking his holding to 3.41% of the company's issued share capital.

Conroy Gold & Natural Resources (CGNR), up 10.91% to 15.25p, has received a request for a general meeting to remove non-executive deputy chairman Seamus FitzPatrick, finance director James Jones and four other non-exec directors. The request sought to have three new directors appointed.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Windar Photonics (WPHO), down 6.9% to 67.5p, has posted a FY pretax loss of €3.3m, against a loss of €3.9m a year previously, and said it was pleased with the progress already made in 2017.

KAZ Mineral (KAZ), up 3.86% to 519p, has completed an amendment and extension of its pre-export finance loan facility which includes an increase in the facility commitments to $600m.

Deltex Medical Group (DEMG), down 3.33% to 3.63p, was making good progress with sales up on a year ago on improved margins and lower operating costs.

Genus (GNS), down 1.92% to 1842p, was facing new patent infringement litigation in the US. It said Inguran, XY and Cytonome/ST, (collectively ST) had filed patent infringement proceedings against ABS Global, Genus and Premium Genetics (UK) in the US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.

Ukrproduct (UKR), up 0.15% to 3.26p, has reached agreement with OTP Bank for the deferral of the principal loan repayment of 32.3m Ukrainian Hyrvnia (UAH), or about £0.95M, due 9 June 2017 initially until 23 June 2017.

Ambrian (AMBR), flat at 2.38p, said its FY turnover fell to $1.05bn, down from $1.90bn in 2015. The pretax loss -  including an impairment charge on the cement operations of $21.29m (2015: $nil) -  rose to $31.14m from $9.36m.

Some other stocks in the news included DX (DX.), Produce Investments (PIL), Helios Underwriting (HUW) and Gresham House Strategic (GHS).