StockMarketWire.com - London stocks opened lower as a mixed bag of financials, supermarkets and airlines led the pack lower in session so far cautious ahead of UK inflation data and European economic sentiment and trade balance figures.

Soon after the open, FTSE 100 was down 30.49 points, or 0.44%, to 6910.7, while FTSE 250 dropped 64.22 points, or 0.36%, to 17,865.1. At 8.31am, WTI crude was down 0.83% to $45.36/bbl and Brent was down 0.79% to $47.97/bbl. Gold was up 0.44% to $1353.4/oz.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) faltered 1.19% to 190.8p, with it and Barclays (BARC), down 1.08% to 161.78p, leading other banks south. Airlines were piloted by IAG (IAG), off 1.18% to 398.05p, while easyJet (EZJ) taxied down 0.78% to 1078.5p.

Supermarkets traced Sainsbury (SBRY), trollying down 0.98% to 232.7p, and Morrisons (MRW), queuing 0.92% lower to 189.15p. Asset managers and insurers were generally tapering, as were several utilities, consumer goods and media stocks.

A number of pharmas fell, too. AstraZeneca (AZN), down 0.33% to 5127p, has completed the licensing agreement with LEO Pharma A/S, a specialist in dermatology care, for the global licence to tralokinumab in skin diseases.

Blue-chip losers outnumbered winners 78 to 22. Miners were in fine form among the latter, with Antofagasta (ANTO) up 3.84% to 533.75p as it said H1 revenues fell 18.5% to $1,448.0m due to lower copper prices and sales volumes, and the closure of Michilla at end-2015.

Also gaining were Rio Tinto (RIO), up 2.01% to 2484.5p, and Anglo American (AAL), up 1.56% to 886.35p. Oil majors were on the front foot after Shell (RDSA), up 0.69% to 1945.75p. Meantime, Balfour Beatty (BBY), up 0.66% to 242.6p, has won a $697m contract to electrify the 52-mile Caltrain rail corridor between San Francisco and San Jose.

BIGGER MOVERS

W Resources (WRES), up 22.62% to 0.52p, has unveiled a package of financing and tungsten off-take arrangements for the start-up of the La Parrilla FTM mine, from ICD Alloys and Metals LLP.

Circle Holdings (CIRC) rose 17.25% to 17.88p as it was named preferred bidder by the Greenwich CCG to provide integrated musculoskeletal services in Greenwich.

Armadale (ACP) was up 11.76% to 2.38p, as geological mapping at the Mahenge Liandu Graphite Project in south-east Tanzania confirmed extensive areas of graphite mineralisation.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Marshall Motor (MMH), up 10.23% to 167p, said its H1 pretax profit has improved to £12.1m, from £10.5m, with directors pleased with the period that enjoyed strong trading. Revenue was £826.4m, from £632.5m. Interim dividend was lifted to 1.8p, from a pro-rated 0.58p.

Scisys (SSY), up 8.93% to 91.5p, has maintained the encouraging start to the year reported at its annual meeting in June. "This favourable trading picture is reflected in buoyant cash flows for the period," the company said.

Tethys Petroleum (TPL) shed 8.33% to 1.38p as its Q2 oil and gas revenue fell 48% to $3.5m. Its loss was $4.9m, from a loss of $25.3m, due to lower depreciation, depletion and amortisation.

Castings (CGS), down 6.35% to 426.13p, has seen a softening in demand from its main customers since its report in June. Plans to fill a profit gap created by a major machining contract ending remained on track with improvements still seen in 2017/18.

Motif Bio (MTFB), down 3.96% to 45.5p, widened its H1 pretax loss to $14.2m, from a loss of $1.9m. It is pleased that lead product iclaprim is in its final stage of development.

Polypipe (PLP), up 2.51% to 296.15p, has hiked its H1 pretax profit by 29% to £29.9m, from £23.2m. Interim dividend was lifted to 3.1p a share, up 35% from 2.3p. This was a record performance.

Amino Technologies (AMO), up 2.11% to 145p, has secured a software licensing contract to provide its Enable TV device software to PCCW Media, a fully integrated multimedia and entertainment group in Hong Kong.

Wood Group (WG.), down 0.34% to 727p, has posted a lower H1 profit, with revenue slumping as interim dividend was hiked. It sees FY EBITA down 20% on 2015. Separately, the company confirmed a $700m contract with with Tengizchevroil in Kazakhstan.

Other stocks in the news included easyHotel (EZH), Petards (PEG), Orosur (OMI), H&T Group (HAT), Roxi Petroleum (RXP), Frenkel Topping (FEN), SRT Marine Systems (SRT), Avacta (AVCT), Future (FUTR), Empiric Student Property (ESP), Red Rock Resources (RRR), Earthport (EPO) and Castleton Technology (CTP).




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