London shares shrug-off expectations of a lower start to make steady gains in early trade on Wednesday, with miners making strong gains on commodity price speculation. The blue-chip FTSE 100 index rallies 50-points, or 0.8%, to 6,376 dragging midcaps and smaller company indexes along for the ride. The FTSE 250 is up 0.13% at 17,155, while the FTSE Small Cap index rises 0.3% to 4,610.
Mining giant Anglo American (AAL) heads the Footsie leader board, rallying 10%-plus to 667.4p as a leveraged play on commodity price improvements. Behind the cash strapped Glencore (GLEN) Anglo's balance sheet is reckoned to be in second worst shape across the UK sector, so any positive price news for wider commodities will be particularly welcomed by Anglo investors.
Budget accommodation provider EasyHotel (EZH:AIM) plunges 12% to 62.5p after warning its full year EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) will be impacted by the termination of its South African franchise and earlier management changes - namely the appointment of Guy Parsons as chief executive. Revenue will be 'materially ahead' but Parsons says he's having a 'hard look' at how the group can accelerate growth and improve its core operational disciplines.
Kazakh oil firm Tethys Petroleum (TPL:AIM) is up 2.9% to 5.4p despite its larger peer Nostrum Oil & Gas (NOG:AIM) – itself up 0.6% to 535p - walking away from an agreed takeover. The rise probably prompted by Tethys separate announcement of a proposed capital injection from AGR Energy.
Minnow Grafenia (GRA:AIM) crashes 28% to 14.5p as it completes the sale of Dutch subsidiary Grafenia BV to Rosso for €2.25 million cash. Grafenia BV was acquired in 2010 for €2 million so the sale price is clearly disappointing.
Mining minnow Botswana Diamonds (BOD:AIM) slumps 22% to 0.68p as it completes a three hole drilling programme on licence PL 210 in Botswana. The core is being processed to identify what it contains, although investors clearly hod out little positive hope.
Drones play Strat Aero (AERO:AIM) jumps 12% to 8.25p after agreeing joint venture deal with UAV Airways. As a UK CAA Approved National Qualified Entity, the UAV pilot training business is seen as a smart move by Strat Aero.
Supermarkets titan Tesco (TSCO) cheapens 2p or 1% to 190.15p as interims disappoint. Operating profits fall short of expectations and the grocer, which has shelved the sale of data analysis business dunnhumby, reports a 1.1% decline in UK like-for-like sales, highlighting the scale of the challenge in turning round Britain's biggest retailer against a backcloth of the groceries price war. The good news is CEO Dave Lewis can point to growth in transactions and volumes in the core UK business, with like-for-like sales improving in the second quarter.
Beer brewing behemoth SABMiller (SAB) adds 1.28% at £36.69 as Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI:BR) launches a third bid for its smaller rival. However the Grolsch-to-Pilsner Urquell maker seems cool on the latest offer, claiming AB InBev is 'very substantially undervaluing SABMiller'.
Pub group Punch Taverns (PUB) rises 1.6% to 125p after completing the sale of its 50% interest in drinks wholesaler Matthew Clark to Conviviality (CVR:AIM), the company behind the Wine Rack and Bargain Booze off-licenses. The £100.7 million sale is part of Punch's strategy to reduce its large debt pile.
Life sciences tools and services provider Horizon Discovery (HZD:AIM) advances 2.3% to 152.5p on agreeing to develop several compounds to treat a range of cancers. The assets belong to French pharmaceutical Servier, which can buy them back for more than £50 million. If not, Horizon is free to find another partner.