Source - SMW
Shares in London are tiptoeing ahead despite sterling advancing on both the dollar and euro, but the pairs remain sensitive to UK average earnings and employment data out mid-morning.

The market would, in particular, be looking to see whether average earnings was managing to keep pace with the UK's consumer-price index, which rose 2.9% in May on the year.

Soon after the open, the FTSE 100 was up 8.3 points, or 0.11%, to 7508.74. The FTSE 250 was up 77.56, or 0.39%, to 19,937.1. Europe was also rising, following last night's Wall St gains.

Markets are looking ahead to tonight's US Federal Reserve interest rate call, with a rise expected. Tomorrow, Bank of England was seen standing pat on interest rates.

Looking more closely at the FTSE 100, the gainers included multiple house builders led by Taylor Wimpey (TW.), up 1.65% to 181.35p, and Barratt Developments (BDEV), up 1.61% to 584.75.

Miners were making progress as metals prices inched higher. Fresnillo (FRES) added 1.28% to 1662p, while Antofagasta (ANTO) improved 0.86% to 816.5p.

Financials were also improving, as was commercial property. To the downside, the list of blue-chip losers numbered about 22. 

BP (BP.), down 0.7% to 466.85p, and Shell (RDSA), down 0.22% to 2124.75p, fell with the price of crude. A number of banks tapered after Lloyds (LLOY), off 0.5% to 68.25p.

In the news, British American Tobacco (BATS), up 0.14% to 5421.5p, expected its profit growth to be weighted to H2, due to the phasing of volume shipments, next-generation product investments and marketing spend.


Metminco (MNC), up 30.77% to 4.25p, has agreed with CD Capital Natural Resources Fund III to sell its 49% interest in Los Calatos Holding (LCH) -- owner of the Los Calatos Project in Peru -- for about $5m cash. This would help fund the ongoing development of the Miraflores Gold Project.

Entu (ENTU), down 27.1% to 19.5p, said it expected to report an H1 loss before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation on continuing operations before exceptional items of around £2.2m-£2.4m. 

St Ives (SIV) rose 25.68% to 47.13p after stating its expectation for the FY were unchanged after a challenging H1. It said the first four months of H2 had, as anticipated, delivered a much-improved performance.


Bahamas Petroleum (BPC) fell 15.2% to 1.06p as it raised $3.25m gross via a firm and conditional placing of 260m new shares at 1p each. Proceeds  would be used to fund the company as it sought to complete a farm-in or other financing sufficient to enable drilling of an exploration well on the company's southern licences.

Blue Star Capital (BLU) fell 12.24% to 0.21p after posting a wider H1 loss of £114,585, from a loss of £67,586. Its net assets rose 31% to £2.3m. Redhall (RHL), up 11.11% to 10p, has posted a narrower H1 pretax loss as it detailed a proposed placing and conversion of debt owed to Lombard Odier Asset Management (USA) Corp.

WANdisco (WAND), up 13.59% to 522.5p, has secured a new contract with a major American multinational retail corporation. The contract was secured directly by WANdisco and is valued at approximately $2m, which will be paid in full, up-front in 30 days.

Fosun Gold has made an initial proposal to the independent committee of the board of Gemfields (GEM), up 11.63% to 39.63p, regarding a possible cash offer at 40.85p per share. Mulberry (MUL), down 3.57% to 1108p, has lifted its FY pretax profit by 21% to £7.5m, from £6.2m, and says it plans to continue investing in advancing its international development.

Charles Stanley Group (CAY), up 4.64% to 358.38p, has swung into the black in the year to the end of March with a reported pre-tax profit of £8.8m against a loss of £0.3m last time. It reported revenue in line with the previous year despite disposal of non-core activities.

Bellway (BWY), up 3.6% to 2952.5p, said a robust trading performance should result in an operating margin slightly in excess of 22%, from 22% a year earlier, for the FY.

Watchstone (WTG), down 2.41% to 136.63p, has been served with High Court proceedings issued by Slater and Gordon (UK) 1 Ltd for breach of warranty and/or fraudulent misrepresentation for a total of up to £637m plus interest in damages. It would defend the claim robustly, it said.

WH Smith (SMWH), up 0.26% to 1748.5p, said in the 15-week period from 1 March to 10 June 2017 total group sales were up 2%, with like-for-like sales flat. Within this, the Travel business's total and LFL sales were up, while those for the High Street business were down.

Other stocks in the news included Aggreko (AGK), Purplebricks (PURP), Elegant Hotels (EHG), Telit (TCM), Mariana Resources Ltd (MARL), CLS (CLI) and Porta (PTCM).