Mining stocks are in focus on Monday as iron ore prices hit their highest level in 2016 – pushing the FTSE 100 index up marginally to 6,733, a gain of 0.1%.
Moves in the miners are being driven by overnight trading in China and Singapore, where September futures contracts for the industrial metal enjoyed gains in excess of 5% to between $60 and $70 a tonne (£45-£53 per tonne).
Elsewhere in the FTSE 100, European Central Bank (ECB) stress test results published over the weekend prompt a response from a number of banks including Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), one of the worst performers under an adverse economic scenario modelled by regulators.
RBS CAPITAL BUFFERS
RBS says losses over three years would exceed £11 billion based on the ECB's stressed scenario, shaving capital buffers from 15.5% to 8.1%. Shares in the Glasgow-headquartered lender trade 0.8% lower at 191p.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) signs a deal with Alphabet (GOOG:NYSE), the parent company of Google, to invest in a new bioelectronics venture called Galvani. Research will focus on producing miniaturised, implantable devices that may be able to help conditions including arthritis, diabetes and asthma.
KELLER DOWNGRADES GUIDANCE
Among the mid caps, international construction services outfit Keller (KLR) drops 6.8% to 950p as chief executive Alain Michaelis says profitability in 2016 will be at the lower end of market expectations. Brexit is unlikely to have much impact, Michaelis adds, as the UK accounts for less than 4% of group revenue.
Profitability is under pressure because of weak construction markets in Australia, Singapore and Malaysia.
SMALL CAP GAINERS
Newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror (TNI) gains 6.7% to 80p as it announces a £10 million share buyback programme alongside interims. The numbers themselves reveal like-for-like revenue down 7.8% year-on-year in the first half.
Small cap gas producer Sound Energy (SOU:AIM) moves 20% higher to 57p as investors continue to bid the shares up on last week’s news of an expanded collaboration with US oil services giant Schlumberger (SLB).
Luxury interior furnishings firm Walker Greenbank's (WGB:AIM) recovery continues, the shares up a further 5p (2.6%) to 195.5p on receipt of a second interim insurance payment of £3.2 million following last year's flood at its Lancaster-based fabric printing factory.
Walker Greenbank says full production has almost returned to the factory, now benefiting from the faster production rates of new digital printers installed after the flood.
Cake decoration, food ingredients and premium bakery business Real Good Food (RGD:AIM) sours 7% to 33p despite serving up a swing into the black for the year to March thanks to the one-off proceeds from selling its Napier Brown sugar distribution arm.
The fall reflects a subdued outlook statement, Real Good Food flagging challenging times ahead for the food industry and reporting 'satisfactory' trading in the first three months of the new financial year.