FTSE indices rallied off earlier lows to be mixed at noon -- blue chips up and mid caps down -- with rising retailers, pharma and financials lending a hand. Sports Direct Int'l (SPD) and Kingfisher (KGF) were so far the northbound retail risers of note.
To noon, FTSE 100 was up 11.47 points, or 0.16%, to 7044.8. FTSE 250 fell 9.84, or 0.05%, to 18,227.6. Both were off earlier nadirs. At 11.42am, crude oil was up less than 0.5%. European bourses were lower. Overall sentiment is affected Greece debt and Yemen fighting.
Sports Direct (SPD) was up 4.33% to 687p as it issued a chipper trading statement. Kingfisher (KGF) rose 3.33% to 379p as like-for-like sales rose 0.8% in Q1, but forex dented retail profits. Also up among retailers were Dixons Carphone (DC.), rising 2.04% to 473.75p, with some supermarkets tailing Sainsbury (SBRY), up 0.88% to 257.95p.
Pharma outfits enjoyed a boost behind Smith & Nephew's (SN.) surge of 0.99% to 1176p. House builders followed Persimmon (PSN), up 0.87% to 1975p, while broader financial-sector stocks traced Experian's (EXPN) gain of 1.17% to 1253.5p, with several banking, some energy and consumer goods issues following.
Despite a tepid gains in base metals prices multiple miners slipped as Chinese stocks plunged in a banking-sector sell-off there. Anglo American (AAL) lost 0.96% to 1030.5p to lead metals burrowers down. Commercial property companies tended lower, as did a gaggle of insurers. Blue-chip risers and fallers were roughly evenly split.
Marimedia (MARI) collapsed 37.87% to 73p as it said an industry shift towards mobile phones has caused directors to transition the business fully to mobile. This means putting resources into building Taptica's capabilities, which they see as the foundation for generating value. It will no longer invest in its now non-core legacy display business.
Connemara Mining (CON) soared 31.08% to 2.13p on positive prospecting news. Prospecting at the five-licence block of ground in the Inishowen area of Donegal has located quartz-vein boulders up to 45cm in diameter containing encouraging grade gold. Gold grades obtained included 15.35g/t, 15.7g/t, 6.99g/t, 4.52g/t, and 5.42g/t.
LXB Retail Properties (LXB) dived 32.09% to 91p as shareholders decided against liquidising the company at yesterday's AGM. Meantime, Sareum (SAR) crashed 22.22% to 0.28p as it raised £1.4m in a deeply discounted placing. Belgravium Technologies (BVM), down 11.11% to 5p, said FY results were expected to be heavily H2 weighted.
UK mortgage approvals hit a nine-month high in April, industry data showed. British Banker's Association said the number of new mortgages approved rose to 42,100 in April, from March's 39,200. The market had expected a print of 39,200 in April.
Camco Clean Energy (CCE) rose 12% to 5.88p after closing a structured deal with a major multinational corporation to assign its rights to the future stream of certain California Carbon Offsets generated between 2015 and 2020 from the majority of agricultural methane projects that it manages on behalf of its dairy partners.
DQ Entertainment (DQE), down 9.33% to 8.5p, has posted FY adjusted pretax profits of INR195m, up from INR191m last time. Vitesse Media (VIS), up 4.76% to 2.75p, has traded well during the year to January 31, with revenues up 7% to £2.26m. The Operating loss is expected to be substantially reduced to close to breakeven.
Premier Oil (PMO), up 3.08% to 160.6p, and Rockhopper Exploration (RKH), up 8.03% to 65.63p, confirmed an oil discovery at the Isobel Deep exploration well 14/20-1 in the North Falkland Basin, about 30km south of the Sea Lion field. Elsewhere, Gable (GAH), down 10.42% to 32.25p on profit taking, reported record premiums for 2014 at £80m, a 35.8% rise in 12 months.
Stellar Diamonds (STEL), up 8.11% to 1p, confirmed sales of $505,000 from the auction of diamonds from its 75%-owned, Baoule kimberlite pipe in Guinea. This brings 2015 sales to date to more than $922,000, of which $700,644 are derived from the trial mine evaluation of Baoule.
Motif Bio (MTFB) added 5.3% to 34.75p on US regulator the FDA clearing its iclaprim treatment to enter phase III trials; the last step before a decision on its reaching the market is made. Nakama (NAK), up 5.88% to 4.5p, said its FY results will be in line with management views.
Other stocks in the news included Toumaz (TMZ), Porta Comms (PTCM), Tate & Lyle (TATE), Stride Gaming (STR), Helical Bar (HLCL), Ferrexpo (FXPO), Infinis Energy (INFI), European Wealth Group (EWG), Smart Metering Systems (SMS), Collagen Solutions (COS) and Tengri Resources (TEN).