StockMarketWire.com - London equities began on a positive note with rises among in-the-news stocks Bunzl, Convatec and Persimmon, along with several miners and oil majors further back, more than offsetting falls among insurers.

Soon after the open, FTSE 100 was up 23.57 points, or 0.33%, to 7267.27, and FTSE 250 was up 45.64, or 0.25%, to 18,634.3. These rises followed on from a lower end to trade last week.

Bunzl (BNZL), up 1.73% to 2208.5p and leading blue chips north, posted double-digit rises in FY adjusted and statutory profits, and has expanded into Singapore with the acquisition of LSH.

It was chased by ConvaTec (CTEC), up 1.75% to 235.75p as it launched the me+ recovery programme for stoma patients. Persimmon (PSN) rose 1.63% to 2058p on an improved FY pretax profit and revenue, and a further increase in its capital return plan.

Also up were banks, leisure stocks, supermarkets and resources. Of the latter, oily Shell was up 0.65% to 2086.5p, with several rising miners guided by Rio Tinto (RIO), up 0.46% to 3330.75p.

At 8.28am, WTI crude was up 0.87% to $54.46/bbl and Brent was up 1.07% to $56.59/bbl. Gold, silver and copper prices were all lower.

Metals diggers lower, however, were led by Glencore (GLEN), down 0.89% to 324.6p, and Randgold (RRS), down 0.62% to 7602.5p. Commercial property tended lower behind Land Securities (LAND), off 0.42% to 1062.5p.

Insurers were in southbound focus behind Direct Line (DLG), down 5.32% to 345.2p. It noted the Lord Chancellor's announcement regarding a change to the discount rate for calculating personal injury damages awards. It would comment on implications later today.

Also lower were Admiral (ADM), Aviva (AV.), RSA Insurance (RSA) and Old Mutual).

Associated British Foods (ABF), down 0.23% to 2605p, expected its H1 adjusted operating profit and adjusted EPS to show excellent progress.

Vodafone (VOD), up 0.35% to 2003.55p, has been declared clear leader in international 4G roaming, a new report by global research firm Ovum shows.

BIGGER MOVERS

Stellar Diamonds (STEL) fell 22.81% to 5.5p as its shares were restored to trading, having completed a £324,500 placing at 5.5p a share. It provided more details of a £250,000 open offer and a director subscription of £20,000, both at 5.5p a share.

InfraStrata (INFA), down 22.22% to 0.53p, plans to raise up to £750,000 gross via a placing of new shares which would be issued on a non-pre-emptive basis.

Starcom (STAR) dropped 20.83% to 2.38p on news it was anticipating a FY pretax loss of about $1.5m, from a loss of $1.76m, after inventory write-downs of $450,000, but before provisions.

Stratex Int'l (STI) lost 19.48% to 1.55p as it said it has yet to receive cash distribution from Bahar Madencilik, its Turkish partner on the Altintepe Gold Mine. Stratex believed this was contrary to contract and was taking appropriate steps to enforce its rights.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Botswana Diamonds (BOD), down 10.96% to 1.63p, has raised £525,000 gross via a placing of 35m new shares at 1.5p each.

Union Jack Oil (UJO), down 6.25% to 0.15p, has raised about £1.4m in a placing of 1.03bn new shares at a price of 0.135p each. Proceeds would be used to increase Union Jack's interests in existing licences within its portfolio.

Rotork (ROR), up 4.28% to 245.9p, said its FY pretax profit slipped to £91.1m, from £101.9m, as its revenue for the period and dividend improved alongside a stabilising trading environment in H2.

LGO (LGO), up 4.44% to 0.12p, has confirmed that Rig #18 has been successfully mobilised to the Goudron field where it has been contracted to drill at least two infill wells to the Mayaro Sandstone reservoir.

Senior's (SNR), down 2.51% to 182.3p, FY pretax profit fell in what it said was a challenging year that sparked the streamlining of parts of the business and a cost-reduction programme. Pretax profit was £55.5m, from £63.8m. Total dividend was hiked by 6% to 6.57p a share.

Green Dragon Gas (GDG), down 1.86% to 125p, has confirmed its 11th consecutive increase in 1P and 2P reserve volumes. It had total original gas in place of 27.1 Tcf across all its blocks at end-2016.

Tristel (TSTL), up 1.47% to 172p, said its Fuse disinfectant used in its Stella decontamination tray has been approved as a high-level disinfectant by Australia's Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA).

RPC (RPC), down 0.06% to 906p, has received valid acceptances for 79.5m new shares, or about 96% of the total number offered to qualifying shareholders in its 1:4 rights issue. It announced the rights issue of 82.95m new shares on Feb. 9.

Midatech Pharma (MTPH), down 0.8% to 123.5p, has entered into a senior secured £6m loan deal with Silicon Valley Bank, in-line with its strategy. Among other stocks in the news were Hiscox (HSX), Etalon (ETLN), Dialight (DIA), Totally (TLY), WH Ireland (WHI) and esure (ESUR).




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