London markets nudge higher in a quiet news session, with blue-chip resources and retail-related stocks generally providing the direction. But utilities are under pressure on concerns of a future US interest rate hike. Wall Street was mixed overnight, while Asian markets fell.
The FTSE 100 is up 26 points, or 0.4%, to 7102, while midcaps rise similarly to 17,900. WTI and Brent crude prices also nudge higher. Miners Fresnillo (FRES) and Glencore (GLEN) lead the Footsie risers, adding around 3% a piece to 747.5p and 302p respectively.
International distributor and outsourcer Bunzl (BNZL) is one of the few FTSE 100 losers, shedding 2.3% to £18.69. First quarter sales grew 2% on an underlying basis and 6% including acquisitions, according to a trading statement. It also announces four bolt-on acquisitions in Turkey, the Netherlands and two in Canada.
Virgin Money (VM.) falls 5.5% to 398.5p on two of its backers looking to reduce their stakes in the bank. Wilbur Ross and Stanhope Investments want to sell around 45 million shares – 10.2% of the bank – at around 400p a share.
Among bigger movers, troubled coal miner Asia Resource Minerals (ARMS) soars by 83.3% to 27.5p after receiving takeover interest from Asia Coal Energy, a venture managed by one of its shareholders (ASML) and funded by Indonesian business group Sinarmas. The market is clearly sceptical about a formal deal happening, given that the shares trade significantly below the 41p per share proposed offer.
Testing kit-maker Omega Diagnostics (ODX:AIM) climbs 12.6% to 14.5p on pre-tax profit for the year to the end of March beating expectations at £1.4 million on an 15% rise in food intolerance test sales. This came despite a cut to pre-tax profit forecasts on delays in launching an HIV diagnostic.
Chinese lottery group DJI (DJI:AIM) tumbles 13.8% to 50p after warning earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the fourth quarter will be 'materially lower than anticipated' as a result of the Chinese government's temporary suspension of online lottery sales. The company also incurred higher than anticipated commission fees, all of which means it will report an EBITDA loss for the full year 2014 despite revenue increasing from £1.1 million to £13.6 million.
UK Oil & Gas (UKOG) - the lead in the Horse Hill Development consortium developing a find near Gatwick airport - rises 1.8% to 2.32p despite seeking to cool speculation about the size of the find. Following reports there could be 100 billion barrels in the Weald basin which contains the discovery, UKOG says it needs to undertake more exploration and testing before the scale of the resource on its own licences (let alone the wider basin) can be confirmed.
Trainers-to-sports kit seller JD Sports Fashion (JD.) sprints up 20.5p (4%) to 530p on record full-year results, driven by strong sales growth in its sports fashion fascias. Upgrades ensue as the retailer reports profit before tax and exceptional north of £100 million for the first time. Read our web exclusive here.