Source - SMW
Shares in London embarked tentatively higher in early deals as sterling resumed its familiar submissive and wilting position against both the dollar and euro.

The divided country began Brexit talks with the EU yesterday, but its hung parliament and worsening economic health installed unease among traders and investors.

Soon after the open, the FTSE 100 was up 2.27 points, or 0.03%, to 7526.08, while the FTSE 250 was up 2.28, or 0.01%, to 19,875.6. Chancellor Philip Hammond said this morning that Britain was weary from austerity.

Crude oil prices were mildly ahead, as were those for gold and silver. Copper was lower.

House builders were making a limp attempt to get ahead after Persimmon (PSN), up 1.43% to 2310.5p, and Taylor Wimpey (TW.), ahead 0.69% to 181.85p. More followed.

Several pharmas followed Astrazeneca (AZN), up 0.93% to 5393.5p, while a number of utilities gained after National Grid (NG.), up 0.86% to 1029.25p. Other utilities fell, such as Severn Trent (SVT), down 0.42% to 2386p.

Insurers, consumer goods and some supermarkets tended higher. To the downside, banks were out of favour after Lloyds (LLOY), down 1.02% to 68p, and Barclays (BARC), down 0.46% to 205.8p. Barclays has been charged with fraud by the Serious Fraud Office in a case linked to Qatar.

BT Group (BT.A), down 1.23% to 286.15p, intended to buy back up to £200m of its shares from Orange. It issued 398.7m new shares to Orange in January 2016, as partial consideration for the purchase of EE.

BIGGER MOVERS

Halosources (HAL) rose 445.45% to 3p as it raised about £1.8m via the issue of 117.7m shares at 1.5p a share. Net proceeds would provide additional working capital, fund commercialisation of its lead removal technology and allow the company to expand its drinking water business. 

7digital (7DIG) gained 29.55% to 7.12p as it acquired 24-7 for £2.2m in stock and cash, with the deal expected to add about £5m in revenues in 2017 and more than £8m in 2018.

Surface Transforms (SCE) fell 26.8% to 14p after it warned on the FY due to additional development costs, and also noted delayed but not lost sales. "We continue to look forward with confidence," the company said.

Milestone (MSG), down 20.59% to 0.14p, said whilst it pursued all avenues to provide a mutually acceptable solution regarding its October placing, should such an agreement not be forthcoming in the near future it would restart legal proceedings.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Fusionex (FXI) fell 16% to 52.5p after confirming the resignation of Stifel Nicolaus Europe Ltd as Nominated Adviser and Broker, from 20 June. Shares in Fusionex would be suspended from 7:30 on 21 June, before cancellation of the listing on 27 June.

N Brown Group (BWNG), up 12.34% to 319.88p, saw continued momentum across the business in the 13 weeks to 3 June.  Group revenue rose 5.6% with product revenue up 10.2%, driven by strong Ladieswear performance.

Shanta Gold (SHG), down 6.78% to 6.88p, has agreed with Helio Resource Corp to acquire all of the latter company's issued and outstanding common shares by way of a statutory plan of arrangement. It also proposed raising about $14.0m via a placing and direct subscription.

UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG), up 6.67% to 1.2p, has now begun conventional coring operations at its 100% interest Broadford Bridge-1 (BB-1) exploration well. Kin Group (KIN), up 6.45% to 0.08p, has won a contract with an NHS Trust hospital to provide a services programme for doctors, nurses and staff.

Trans-Siberian Gold (TSG), up 5.13% to 41p, said subsidiary ZAO Trevozhnoye Zarevo (TZ) has materially improved the terms of its debt facilities having agreed terms with VTB Bank. 

Kellan (KLN), up 4.17% to 0.63p, said revenues fell 11.8% to £21.9m in the year to the end of December. It made an operating profit before impairment of £0.4m, from an operating profit of £0.8m.

Tlou Energy Ltd (TLOU), up 3.7% to 7p, has generated its first power from coal bed methane (CBM) at its field in Botswana, following the installation of a gas generator at the Selemo project area.  

Other stocks in the news included RWS Holdings (RWS), Assura (AGR), Morses Club (MCL), Cairn Energy (CNE), Ultra Electronics (ULE), Interserve (IRV), Aukett Swanke Group (AUK), Adams (ADA), NWF Group (NWF), Horizonte Minerals (HZM), Brighton Pier Group (PIER), Datatec (DTC) and Ormonde Mining (ORM).