The FTSE opens in negative territory as Asian and US stocks fell overnight due to North Korea appearing to ramp up its nuclear threat. It is considering a nuclear test of ‘unprecedented scale’ in the Pacific Ocean, according to North Korea’s foreign minister.

That news helped to drive up the gold price by nearly 0.5% to $1,297 per ounce.

Also influencing markets is the movement in the pound ahead of Theresa May’s Brexit speech in Florence this afternoon. In early trading the pound was down against the euro but up against the dollar.

At 8.55am, the FTSE 100 traded 11 points down at 7,252.

Among UK stock news, Acacia Mining (ACA) ticks up 2.9% to 183.85p as it receives positive news from a processing test at its Buzwagi mine in Tanzania. The results suggest the mine to should be able to switch production to solely gold dore (to overcome a ban in Tanzania on exporting unprocessed ore) from a mix of dore and gold/copper concentrate.

Engineering business Smiths (SMIN) sheds 3.8% to £15.52 despite releasing solid results for its year ending 31 July. The company’s underlying profit is up 11% on a reported basis while underlying operating profit is up 3%, both on year-on-year basis.

Over 50s holiday and insurance company Saga (SAGA) rises 1.3% to 199.2p as its results for the six months to 31 July show decent growth. Its underlying pre-tax profits are up 5.5% to £110m which is slightly ahead of expectations.

Oil services group Lamprell (LAM) crashes 8.3% to 91p despite its first half results to 30 June being broadly in line with the company’s expectations. The firm’s net profits were $1.1m for the period and the company also reveals a growing profile in renewable sector due to winning the East Anglia windfarm project.

Beleaguered distributer DX (DX.:AIM) receives some reprieve from its recent woes as it rise 4.3% to 8.65p. The company has raised cash by selling properties for around £4m. It has also secured a loan from Gatemore worth £2m.

Central Asia Metals (CAML:AIM) agreed to acquire Lynx Resources, the owner of the SASA zinc-lead mine in Macedonia, from Orion Co-Investments III and Fusion Capital for $402.5m. Its shares remain suspended until acquisition documents are published next week.

Energy tech group Intelligent Energy (IEH) was among the small cap casualties after warning it faced an uncertain outlook due to the slower than expected development of the market. Shares in Intelligent Energy plummeted 64% to 2.8p. The company forecast that sales in the year to 30 September would be approximately £21m, down from £91.8m a year earlier.

Chemical company minnow Iofina (IOF:AIM) shoots up 11.8% to 13p as it announces that its iodine production exceeded expectations in the first half to 30 June. The company has also benefited from a 25% increase in the spot price of iodine.

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Issue Date: 22 Sep 2017