StockMarketWire.com - FTSE indices ended the session mixed, blue chips down a whisker and mid caps up a jot, as did Europe. Wall St opened mixed. Falls among pharmas, airlines and insurers guided the top-100 ladder south, outstripping solid gains among hotels and property issues.

FTSE 100 closed down 7.2 points, or 0.11%, to 6345.13. Overall, about 40 blue chips were lower. FTSE 250 was up 66.69 points, or 0.39%, to 16,984.0. At 4.46pm, gold and copper were at $1176/oz and $236/lb. Crude was up less than 0.5%.

Astrazeneca (AZN), off 3.18% to 4024.5p, led a string of pharmas, including Hikma (HIK) and Shire (SHP), lower. International Consolidated Airlines (IAG), down 1.91% to 592p, taxied south, followed by easyjet (EZJ), off 0.92% to 1731p. Banks faltered after Barclays (BARC), down 0.81% to 252.6p, while insurers tapered behind Old Mutual (OML), off 0.81% to 208.1p.

Also down were miners, oilies and tobacco stocks. Risers included InterContinental Hotels (IHG), up 6.92% to 2471p as it posted a 4.8% rise in global revenue per available room (RevPAR) in Q3. Whitbread (WTB) added 3.25% to 4878.5p on a 13.8% rise in H1 profit to £291.3m. Like-for-like sales at Premier Inn and Costa rose 5% and 4.4% respectively.

House builders nudged ahead in the wake of Barratt Developments (BDEV), up 1.58% to 642p, while Hammerson (HMSO) piloted commercial property with a 0.96% rise to 629.5p. Contrary to softness among airline stocks, leisure outfits TUI AG (TUI) and Carnival (CCL) also stole higher, albeit well off the overall pace.

In other news, Tata Steel (TTST) fell 2.83% to 3.78p on its Long Products Europe business proposing to stop production of steel plate due to a shift in market conditions. This would lead to about 1200 job losses, roughly 900 in Scunthorpe and 270 in Scotland as well as a small number at other Long Products Europe sites.

BIGGER MOVERS

Rurelec (RUR) collapsed 42.22% to 0.65p. Sterling Trust, which owns about 54% of the company's shares, called in the administrators yesterday, putting a massive question mark over Rurelec's own future.

Minoan (MIN) rose 18.64% to 8.75p on commenting it understands the process for the issuance of a presidential decree relating to its project in Crete is underway. Shanta Gold (SHG), up 22.22% to 6.88p, said it produced a record 24,552 oz of gold from its New Luika Gold Mine, Tanzania, in Q3, up from 14,664 oz in Q2.

Aureus Mining (AUE), down 12.8% to 17.88p, has halted the process plant at the New Liberty mine due to a mechanical failure within the secondary crusher. A mobile crusher would be on site by Oct. 23, allowing crushing and processing operations to re-start.

ECONOMIC NEWS

Stateside, privately owned housing units authorised by building permits fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,103,000 in September, US Census Bureau (USCB) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (DHUD) said. THis was 5.0% below the revised August rate.

US privately owned housing starts rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,206,000 in September, USCB and DHUD said. This was 6.5% above the revised August estimate of 1,132,000.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

SolGold (SOLG) jumped 11.84% to 2.13p as it unveiled the findings of its final assay results for hole CSD-15-012, on the Cascabel gold-copper porphyry project in Ecuador. The report showed a world-class intersection gold and copper.

ASOS (ASC) rose 9.36% to 3202p after delivering in-line final results. New CEO Nick Beighton flagged a good start to the new financial year and guided towards 20% 2016 sales growth, though gross margins would be lower and operating margins flat, as ASOS planned to invest in cutting prices and in its logistics infrastructure and technology.

Scancell (SCLP) fell 9% to 22.75p despite improving safety data from its clinical trials. Research highlighted the potential of its pipeline to improve response rates to its treatments among cancer suffers.

Toumaz (TMZ), up 8.7% to 2.5p, has signed a three-year, £5m term loan with Clydesdale Bank Growth Finance. This is a senior term loan with capital amortisation commencing from June 2016 with no dilution to the equity.

Nighthawk (HAWK), down 8.89% to 3.38p, said CFO Richard Swindells was leaving the group as part of its move to streamline the accounting and finance functions. Condor Gold (CNR) rose 4.71% to 44.5p after it described the results from Whittle Consulting's enterprise optimisation study on La India project in Nicaragua as extremely positive.

Genel Energy (GENL) fell 5.89% to 315.5p as it downgraded revenue guidance, but pared larger losses from earlier this morning on subsequently announcing it had received a $16.5m payment for crude exports from the Taq Taq field from the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Other stocks in the news included Sirius Minerals (SXX), Go-Ahead Group (GOG), Thalassa (THAL), Teathers Financial (TEA), 1Spatial (SPA), Phorm (PHRM), GBG Group (GBG), PPHE Hotel Group (PPH), Curtis Banks Group (CBP), Electra Private Equity (ELTA), Stratex (STI), Kcell (KCEL), McBride (MCB), Informa (INF), Polymetal (POLY).



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