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FTSE dips behind miners after US strikes Syria airbase

Friday, 7th April 2017
London shares opened a sliver weaker as investors searching for safety pushed the price of gold higher after US missile strikes on a Syria airbase linked to a suspected chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held town.

The US launched 59 cruise missiles from warships in the Mediterranean. The Kremlin had already condemned the airstrike, which overshadowed markets' prior focus on a two-day summit in Florida between the presidents of the US and China, Donald Trump and Xi Jinping.

Shortly after the open, the FTSE 100 was down 1.41 points, or 0.02%, to 7301.79, while the FTSE 250 eased 18.52, or 0.1%, to 19,107.6. At 8.27am, WTI crude was up 1.32% to $52.38 and Brent was up 1.2% to $55.55.

Defensive asset gold gained 0.97% to $1265.5/oz, with industrial staple copper down 1.05% to 263.0 cents a pound. Wall St finished higher, but Europe was lower. Sterling was down 0.1% to $1.2457. It also fell 0.04% to €1.1709.

Miners fell with copper. Anglo American (AAL) lost 1.99% to 1220.25p, with Rio Tinto (RIO) slipping 1.76% to 3200.75p and Antofagasta (ANTO) shedding 0.99% to 852.5p. Gold specialists Randgold (RRS), up 2.5% to 7282.5p, and Fresnillo (FRES), up 1.9% to 1625p, rose.

Overall, risers and fallers were roughly evenly split. Several house builders fell behind Barratt Developments (BDEV), down 0.49% to 556.25p, and a number of banks trailed Lloyds (LLOY), down 0.85% to 63.05p. Some dipped after Aviva (AV.), down 0.44% to 512.25p.

To the upside, supermarkets queued behind Tesco (TSCO), up 1.56% to 188.08p, with oil giants Shell (RDSA), up 1.1% to 2138.75p, and BP (BP.), up 0.18% to 465.28p, gaining with crude prices. Commercial property largely followed British Land (BLND), up 1.38% to 644.75p.

In the news, Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust (SMT), up 0.3% to 368.8p, agreed to raise a total of £125m in long-term, fixed-rate, senior, unsecured private placement notes in sterling.

Wolseley (WOS), down 1.08% to 4901.5p, Smiths Group (SMIN), down 0.15% to 1619.5p, and Intertek (ITRK), up 0.04% to 3964.5p, all confirmed completion of separate deals.


Hornby (HRN), up 13.01% to 34.75p, has successfully completed the first stage of its turnaround which, it said, gave strong base from which to build.

Windar Photonics (WPHO), up 11.43% to 97.5p, has received a new order for 25 WindEYE LiDAR units from a newly appointed regional distributor in the Chinese market, with financing provided by Denmark's export credit agency, Eksport Kredit Fonden.

PCI-PAL (PCIP), up 10.53% to 42p, has secured two significant contracts for its services, one in the UK for not less than two years and worth more than £150,000, and another for a Fortune 500 company for not less than three years and worth over £80,000 a year.


Microsaic Systems (MSYS), up 6.98% to 2.3p, has signed an amendment to its research collaboration agreement with a long-standing global partner. The amended agreement was a precursor to future collaboration in the area of bio-processing.

Electra Private Equity Partners 2006 Scottish LP has sold its stake of 26.7m shares in Hollywood Bowl Group (BOWL) for £40.7m gross. Hollywood Bowl's shares fell 7.29% to 155.75p.

StatPro (SOG), up 6.67% to 96p,has agreed to buy UBS Delta for approximately €13m in cash, paid over three years. UBS Delta was UBS' risk and performance analytics service.

Gem Diamonds (GEMD), up 5.32% to 94p, has recovered a 114 carat, D colour Type II diamond of exceptional quality from the Letseng mine in Lesotho. Fusionex (FXI), up 4.51% to 139p, has won a new contract with a major multinational Asian healthcare company for GIANT 2017, its Big Data platform. The initial contract with the medical supplier was in the region of $300,000.

Rotala (ROL), up 2.83% to 54.5p, has more than trebled its FY pretax profit after 12 months of progress in 2016. It made one significant acquisition and two small ones in the year. Pretax profit for the year was £2.7m, up from £742,000.

Driver (DRV), up 1.15% to 44p, said its underlying trading performance remained much improved on the equivalent period last year, since the equity fundraising announced in mid-February.

Audioboom (BOOM), up 1.06% to 2.38p, has conditionally raised a further £500,000 through an additional subscription of 20m new shares with a new institutional VCT investor.

Other stocks in the news included Capital & Counties Properties (CAPC), Phoenix Spree Deutschland (PSDL), AFI Development (AFRB), Xeros Technology Group (XSG), Epiris (ELTA) and VP Plc.

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