Vodafone Group (VOD)

 

FTSE begins 2017 as it ended 2016 -- setting highs

London stocks began 2017 as they ended 2016 -- setting highs. The FTSE 100 was posting a new all-time high, while FTSE 250 was probing ground not seen since October last year.

Soon after the open, FTSE 100 was up 46.74 points, or 0.65%, to 7189.57, while FTSE 250 was up 85.3, or 0.47%, to 18,162.6.

At 8.32am, WTI crude was up 0.52% to $54.00/bbl and Brent was up 0.46% to $57.08/bbl. Gold was up 0.2% to $1154.00/oz, with prices for silver and copper also improving.

Intercontinental Hotels (IHG) guided blue chips with a 3.88% rise to 3779p, while Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) chased with a surge of 3.01% to 1249.5p.

Several miners were in focus after Glencore (GLEN), up 2.66% to 284.73p, and Anglo American (AAL), up 1.49% to 1177.25p. Utilities rose after United (UU.), ahead 1.28% to 912.5p.

Also up were several banks after Lloyds (LLOY), rising 1.66% 62.55p, and pharmas in the wake of Hikma (HIK), ahead 1.9% to 1929p.

Blue-chip risers outnumbered fallers convincingly, about 78 to 22.

To the downside it was retail and supermarkets in particular focus. Next (NXT) dived 4.07% to 4780p while Tesco (TSCO) faded 0.95% to 204.88p and M&S (MKS) shed 0.89% to 346.9p.

Commercial property also tended south after Hammerson (HMSO), off 1.18% to 566.25p.

BLUE-CHIP NEWS

Vodafone (VOD), up 0.78% to 201.4p. and Liberty Global have completed their Dutch joint venture, creating a fully-converged national communications operator. The 50:50 joint venture is called VodafoneZiggo Group Holding BV.

Legal & General Group (LGEN), up 0.87% to 249.75p, has completed the sale of Cofunds and IPS to Aegon, which was announced on 11 August.

London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) and LCH Group Ltd have received an irrevocable all-cash offer from Euronext NV to purchase LCH SA, LCH Group's French-regulated operating subsidiary. Shares in LSE were down 0.03% to 2913p.

BIGGER MOVERS

HaloSource (HALo), up 75.68% to 1.62p, has announced an agreement with Midea Group, a publicly listed Fortune 500 company that offers one of the most comprehensive ranges in the home appliance industry.

Xtract Resources (XTR) rose 14.29% to 0.02p on confirmation that both proposed resolutions were passed at its general meeting on Dec. 30.

BBA Aviation (BBA) is merging its aircraft management and charter business with Gama Aviation's (GMAA) US aircraft management business. BBA was up 0.74% to 285.4p, while GMAA firmed 12.87% to 153.5p.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

XLMedia (XLM), up 3.23% to 96p, announces the acquisition of Greedyrates.ca, a Canadian credit-card comparison websites, for a total consideration of $9.3m.

OptiBiotix Health (OPTI), up 2.05% to 62.25p, announces an increase in its investment in its majority-owned subsidiary The Health Weight Loss Company Ltd. The investment lifts OptiBiotix's shareholding in THWLC to 64%.

Britvic (BVIC), up 1.41% to 575p, has announced that an agreement in principle has been reached to acquire Bela Ischia Alimentos Ltda, a concentrates and juice business in Brazil, for a total cash consideration of R$218m.

Rightmove (RMV), up 1.18% to 3949p, has commenced an irrevocable, non-discretionary programme to purchase shares on its own behalf, for cancellation, during its close period.

Nighthawk Energy (HAWK), down 1.1% to 1.35p, reports net production of 364,399 barrels of oil for the 11 months to end-November, down from 500,280 barrels in the corresponding period in 2015. Net daily output averaged 1088 barrels compared with 1493 in 2015.

Grafton Group (GFTU), down 0.82% to 554.5p, has confirmed that Michael Roney succeeded Michael Chadwick as non-executive chairman with effect from 1 January.

Other stocks in the news included Scancell (SCLP), Nyota Minerals (NYO), Hyundai Motor (HYUD).