StockMarketWire.com - FTSE indices managed a positive end to a mediocre session thanks to gains among pharma, property and insurance stocks. Wall St opened on the front foot with the Nasdaq up more than 1%, while key European bourses ended moderately firmer.

FTSE 100 closed up 24.77 points, or 0.41%, to 6083.31. FTSE 250 was up 45.37, or 0.27%, to 16,885.7. Both indices were off earlier lows. At 4.48pm, WTI crude was down 2.99% and Brent was off 1.9%. Three-month industrial metals prices were flat, but copper fell 1.29% and tin rose 3.38%. Gold was at $1132.3/oz.

Ashtead Group (AHT) piloted the blue-chip pack with a 7.88% surge to 989.25p, but thereafter pharmas were in crisp focus. Hikma (HIK) added 4.43% to 2323.5p, while Astrazeneca (AZN) gained 2.13% to 4119.25p. Intu (INTU) led commercial property with a rise of 2.76% to 323.7p, while Persimmon (PSN) captained house builders with its gain of 2.01% to 2083p.

Several financials made progress. It was 3i Group (III), up 3.26% to 474.15p, atop the broader sector. Thereafter insurers were on display behind Admiral (ADM), up 1.62% to 1540.5p, and Old Mutual (OML). Retailers enjoyed an up-tick in the wake of Dixons Carphone (DC.) and Sports Direct (SPD). Several utilities rose ahead of the US Beige Book at 7pm UK time.

Glencore (GLEN), down a whopping 7.06% to 124.08p, led about 17 blue chips south, with Randgold Resources (RRS), down 2.15% to 3841.5p, immediately behind. Also southbound were Shell (RDSA), off 0.4% to 1631.5p, and Sainsbury (SBRY), down 0.23% to 237.35p. Standard Chartered (STAN) slipped 0.7% to 719.5p.

BIGGER MOVERS

SpaceandPeople (SAL), up 11.69% to 86p, has won exclusive rights to promote brands across all Network Rail stations in the UK for five years.

Halfords (HFD), down 8.74% to 465.45p, said cycling sales in the eight weeks to Aug. 28 fell against tough comparatives and were expected to be below current market views for the quarter.

ECONOMIC NEWS

Stateside, new orders for US-manufactured goods in July, up two consecutive months, increased $2.0bn or 0.4% to $482.0bn, US Census Bureau reported. This followed a 2.2% June increase.

US non-farm business sector labour productivity increased at a 3.3% annual rate during Q2, revised figures from US Bureau of Labor Statistics showed. US unit labour costs decreased 1.4% in the second quarter of 2015, according to revised figures from the bureau.

US private-sector employment rose by 190,000 from July to August, on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report.

Back in Blighty, UK's construction purchasing manager's index came in at 57.3 for August, against forecasts for 57.6 and from 57.1 previously. Meantime, euro zone's producer price inflation printed in line with forecasts at -0.1% in August, unchanged from previously.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Stratmin Global Resources (STGR) jumped 7.03% to 3.88p after striking a deal to sell up to 35% of its Loharano mine and processing operations for £2m to Australia's Bass Metals.

Diploma (DPLM), down 6.95% to 665.75p, expects reported revenues for the year to Sept. 30 to rise about 9% with acquisitions incrementally contributing around 10%, offset by a reduction of about 2% in revenues from translational currency effects.

Rambler Metals and Mining (RMM) operating subsidiary Rambler Metals and Mining Canada has extended its off-take agreement with Transamine over concentrate from the Ming copper-gold mine until 31 December 2021. RMM's shares fell 5.71% to 8.25p.

Empyrean Energy (EME) lost 4% to 6p as it revealed lower output from its 3%-owned Sugarloaf asset in Texas. Q2 production was down marginally year-on-year due to flooding. CEB Resources (CEB), down 2.6% to 0.75p, said initial goals of its '100-day plan' have been achieved. Work continues apace in Indonesia.

Range Resources (RRL), up 1.75% to 0.58p, has advised the vessel carrying the first new 4000m rig has arrived at the port in Trinidad. This is the largest rig to be added to Range Resources Drilling Services Limited (RRDSL) drilling fleet this year.

Ryanair (RYA), up 2.81% to 12.46p, has lifted its August traffic by 10% to 10.4m customers, against 9.4m customers in the same month a year ago. Rolling annual traffic to August grew 15% to 96.3m customers. Load factor in August rose to 95%, from 93%.

ASOS (ASC) rose 1.71% to 2933p on confirmation visionary founder Nick Robertson has stepped down as CEO after 15 years. He was staying with the business as a non-exec director, while COO Nick Beighton succeeded him in the hot seat.

Jubilant (JUB), up 1.33% to 0.38p, said its operating subsidiary company in India has entered into funding arrangements with Jubilant Energy Private Ltd for unsecured loan facilities totalling about $2.34m.

Other stocks in the news included Fishing Republic (FISH), Ariana Resources (AAU), Velocys (VLS), Vela (VELA), Paternoster (PRS), Johnson Service Group (JSG), Tandem (TND), Avon Rubber (AVON), Aggreko (AGK), Concurrent Technologies (CNC), Rare Earth Minerals (REM), LiDCO Group (LID), Mwana Africa (MWA) and Severfield (SFR).



Story provided by StockMarketWire.com