StockMarketWire.com - London equities shrugged off a minor early rise to be southbound not long after the open, with blue chips guided lower by in-the-news easyJet (EZJ), Hikma (HIK) and Land Securities (LAND) as key ballast was provided by several miners, pharmas and supermarkets.

Soon after the open, FTSE 100 was down 19.32 points, or 0.29%, to 6709.67. FTSE 250 was down 27.47, or 0.16%, to 16,991.4. At 8.34am, WTI crude was at $44.94/bbl and Brent was at $47.34/bbl, both up. Gold was a wafer lower at $1317/oz. Wall St and Asia firmed.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has said the UK won't start official talks on quitting the EU this year, as she held talks with Germany's Chancellor, Angela Merkel. The market is looking to a raft of European purchasing-managers' index data, the European Central Bank's interest-rate meeting, and a raft of US data.

easyJet (EZJ), down 5.63% to 1063.5p, reported improved Q3 passengers numbers, capacity and load factor, but said total revenue per seat fell 7.7% to £54.54 a seat. Hikma (HIK), down 1.43% to 2543p, had a US appeal court affirm US FDA's okay of the colchicine 0.6 mg capsule.

Among miners, Randgold (RRS), off 2.87% to 8460p, and Fresnillo (FRES), down 3.52% to 1755p, hurt as gold ebbed. Also notably lower were other pharma majors Smith & Nephew (SN.), lower 1.04% to 1290.5p, and Astrazeneca (AZN), down 1.02% to 4532.25p.

Several supermarkets were notable fallers behind Tesco (TSCO), off 1.04% to 159.48p, while oil majors tapered in the wake of Shell (RDSA), falling 0.92% to 2065.25p. Several utilities, house builder, some banks and commercial property saw their prices pared.

Land Securities (LAND), down 1% to 1089p, expects business uncertainty to persist until there is more clarity on both the timing and terms of the UK's exit from the EU. It also proposed a 9.9% hike in total dividend for the year.

Risers numbered just 34, these guided by mining titans Glencore (GLEN), up 2.2% to 180.8p, and Antofagasta (ANTO), ahead 2.05% to 492.8p. In their wake were a number of insurers behind Prudential (PRU), rising 1.37% to 1354.75p, and other banks after Barclays (BARC), up 0.98% to 152.43p.

OTHER BLUE-CHIP NEWS

SSE (SSE), up 0.03% to 1625.5p, has made a solid start to the financial year with continued focus on operational efficiency, progressing long-term investments in the UK's and Ireland's energy infrastructure.

SABMiller (SAB), up 0.2% to 4434p, said the US Department of Justice has given its clearance for the proposed combination of it and AB InBev. As part of the consent decree, AB InBev has agreed, among other conditions, to divest SABMiller's US interest in MillerCoors to Molson Coors.

Unilever (ULVR), up 0.42% to 3590p, has improved its H1 pretax profit marginally to €3.64bn, from €3.61bn. Turnover totalled €26.3bn, from €26.99bn. Babcock (BAB), up 0.26% to 958.5p, said the financial year started well, with the group trading in line with our expectations for the year.

BIGGER MOVERS

Monitise (MONI), down 9.39% to 2.51p, said, in line with guidance, revenue for H2 was similar to that for H1, which was £33.4m. MySale (MYSL), up 8.7% to 75p, said it is ahead of market expectations for both revenue and underlying EBITDA in the 12 months to June 30.

Tristel (TSTL), up 8% to 121.5p, said, for the year to June 30, it will record turnover in excess of £17m, from £15.3m, and pretax profit (before share-based payments and unrealised currency gains) of at least £3.1m, from £2.6m.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Empresaria (EMR), up 7.69% to 91p, has continued to perform well, highlighting the benefits of a multi-branded group that is diversified and balanced by geography and sector, and can confirm that it remains on course to meet market expectations for the full year.

AO World (AO.) chairman Richard Rose said the business remains on track with its long-term strategic plan. It reported continuing momentum in the UK, with pleasing progress in Europe. Shares in AO rose 6.96% to 143.75p.

Metminco (MNC), down 5.71% to 0.17p, received a mineral resource estimate for the Miraflores gold deposit in Colombia prepared by Denver-based Metal Mining Consultants in accordance with JORC guidelines.

WH Ireland (WHI), down 5.11% to 83.5p, has swung to an H1 pretax loss of £1.8m, from a profit of £0.59m. Revenue was £11.9m, from £15.9m. It said it continued to undergo significant transformational change.

Paragon Entertainment (PEL), up 5% to 1.58p, said its H1 results will show EBITDA at £0.28m, revenue at £5.5m and profit after tax of £0.1m. Previous board guidance for 2016 of revenue of £11m and EBITDA of £0.5m remains unchanged.

William Hill (WMH), up 3.45% to 284.6p, said James Henderson is stepping down as CEO with immediate effect. Philip Bowcock, CFO, has been appointed Interim CEO. The search for a permanent replacement has been instigated.

Other stocks in the news included Tate & Lyle (TATE), Britvic (BVIC), Fuller, Smith & Turner (FSTA), Hilton Food (HFG), Strategic Minerals (SML), Premier Foods (PFL), CMC Markets (CMCX), Charles Stanley (CAY), Halma (HLMA), Science in Sport (SIS) and Wincanton (WIN).




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