Source - SMW
London shares opened firmly lower on Wednesday with blue chips retreating on weakness in a palette of sectors, with utilities and oil majors prominent among them. Sterling was ahead on the dollar, but down on the euro.

A short time after the open, the FTSE 100 was down 35.97 points, or 0.48%, to 7398.39, while the FTSE 250 was down 109.17, or 0.56%, to 19,417.6. European equities indices were lower, too.

Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) led blue chips down with a fall of 3.25% to 1293.5p, and was followed by Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust (SMT), down 1.71% to 406.9p, and Micro Focus International (MCRO), down 1.34% to 2387.5p.

Utilities fell after National Grid (NG.), down 0.85% to 976.25p, and SSE (SSE), down 0.84% to 1473.5p. Oilies retreated after Shell (TDSA), down 0.56% to 2076.75p, and BP (BP.), lower 0.49% to 458.03p. The price of crude oil was falling.

Other sectors notably lower included pharmaceuticals, insurers, consumer goods and leisure.

Bunzl (BNZL) led to the upside with a 3.75% rise to 2395.5p. It has purchased three further businesses in Spain and Canada and expects to complete further acquisitions during the remainder of the year.

It was followed by several supermarkets, gold-focused miners and airlines.


Amphion Innovations (AMP) fell 23.81% to 2p as its net asset value fell to $5.9m, from $10.9m, due almost entirely to the movement in value of the Motif Bio Plc share price. For the FY, Amphion posted a pretax loss of $16.8m, from a profit of $5.9m.

Creightons (CRL), up 16.49% to 28.25p, said its operating profits rose by  171% to £1,513,000  in the year to the end of March. Revenue increased 45.7% to £30.6m and operating profit margins rose to 4.9% (2016 2.7%).

PCG Entertainment (PCGE), down 9.52% to 0.1p, said it would not be able to publish its audited report and accounts for the 15-month period ended 31 March 2017 by 30 June 2017, as previously announced on 21 April 2017.

Crawshaw (CRAW), down 8.62% to 26.5p, said group sales were up 5.1% for the first 20 weeks of the financial year but like-for-like sales were down 4.5% during the period.

Petra Diamonds (PDL), down 6.97% to 105.5p, warns its revenue is expected to be about 8-9% below market consensus and that its financial results for the year are therefore also forecast to be below market expectations.

Stagecoach (SGC), down 5.96% to 191.55p, advises that it sees its FY 2017/18 EPS broadly unchanged.

Victoria Oil & Gas (VOG), up 4.88% to 51.13p, has provided an update on the "challenging" two well drilling programme at its Logbaba gas production site, located in the industrial port city of Douala, Cameroon.

Empyrean Energy (EME), up 4.08% to 6.38p, said it was delighted with the rate gas has flowed at Mako South-1 well, its first major exploration project since its efforts of re-building the portfolio. 

Other stocks in the news included 7digital (7DIG), Tullow Oil (TLW), Kier (KIE), IMImobile (IMO), Secure Property Developments (SPDI), Providence Resources (PVR) and Escape Hunt (ESC).