- London shares began Thursday on the back foot thanks to a string of ex-dividend stocks and an underwhelming reaction to US President Donald Trump's light-on-details tax-reform plans.

A short while after the open, the FTSE 100 was down 28.07 points, or 0.39%, to 7260.65, while the FTSE 250 was down 67.23, or 0.34%, to 19,611.6. European indices were also lower.

This came after overnight softness on Wall St and in Asia as markets doubted whether Trump would get his tax reforms, including paring of the corporate rate, past Congress.

Tensions surrounding North Korea were also a factor.

On the FTSE 100, ex-divs Legal & General (LGEN), down 5.15% to 247.65p, ITV (ITV), down 3.67% to 211.35p and Informa (INF), down 2.14% to 640p, weighed. Miners were lower behind Glencore (GLEN), down 1.9% to 303.53p, and BHP Billiton (BLT), down 1.38% to 1194.25p.

Pharmas also eased after Astrazeneca (AZN), down 1.43% to 4619.25p, reported an encouraging start to 2017 with Q1 core operating profits at $1.667bn, up 5% on the year.

Other sectors notably lower included oil majors BP (BP.), down 1.26% to 447.95p, and Shell (RDSA), down 0.97% to 2025.25p, as crude prices slipped, again. Commercial property and supermarkets were among the fallers.

To the upside, House builders tended to do well. Persimmon (PSN) rose 1.4% to 2318p after saying its operational performance continued to be excellent.

Taylor Wimpey (TW.), up 0.76% to 200p, said it has made a good start to 2017, positioning the group well in a market with positive sentiment that it does not see being disrupted by the UK general election in June.

Mediclinic International (MDC) soared 11.35% to 814p after noting His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, had waived the 20% co-payment for holders of a Thiqa medical insurance card, when receiving treatment at the private healthcare facilities in Abu Dhabi, with immediate effect.

Ex-dividend stocks included Antofagasta (ANTO), Henry Boot (BHY), Capital & Regional (CAL), Fresnillo (FRES), G4s (GFS), Greggs (GRG), Wetherspoon (JDW), Morgan Sindall (MGNS), National Express (NEX), William Hill (WHM) and Worldpay (WPG).


Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY), up 3.31% to 69.64p, booked a Q1 statutory pretax profit of £1.3bn, up from £654,000 last time, with an underlying return on tangible equity of 15.1%. It was on track to deliver its financial targets for 2017.

Vodafone (VOD), down 0.18% to 202.73p, and Proximus have agreed to renew their strategic partnership for Belgium and Luxembourg for a further five years, building on a successful long-term relationship that began in 2003.

Schroders (SDR), down 0.89% to 3169.5p, said it continued to perform well in Q1 2017 with assets under management and administration (AUMA) increasing 5% to £416.3bn at March 31, from £397.1bn a Jan. 1.


Weatherly International (WTI) fell 22.22% to 0.35p after Tschudi production for the quarter to end-March came in at 3236 tonnes of copper cathode, 24% below nameplate. C1 costs for the quarter increased to US$5,907 per tonne.

Synairgen (SNG) fell 21.15% to 20.5p on stating its AZD9412 study did not meet AstraZeneca's predefined criteria for progression, and it had elected to return the drug rights to the company.

Richoux (RIC) lost 14.55% to 23.5p after its FY adjusted EBITDA fell to £0.2m, from £1.64m. A strategic review had seen certain restaurants closed or rebranded, leading to a significant impairment charge and an onerous lease provision.

Georgian Mining (GEO) gained 14.02% to 15.25p on stating it had intersected exceptionally high grade mineralisation, including 16m at 15.4% copper from 47m, during its ongoing drilling programme at Gold Zone 2 in the Kvemo Bolnisi East Project.

Nu-Oil & Gas (NUOG) added 13.7% to 0.41p after confirming Marginal Field Development Company (MFDevCo) Ltd, in which it has a 50% stake, had executed an MoU with Calm Oceans Pte Ltd for the supply of production facilities under a lease arrangement to be entered at a later stage.

Vipera (VIP) rose 10.26% to 5.38p on announcing its largest contract to date, worth an initial $2.4m of revenue. It related to significant follow-on business with one of the UAE's leading financial institutions.

Salt Lake Potash (SO4) fell 7.27% to 25.5p after advising trading in its ASX-listed shares had been halted at its request pending an announcement regarding a capital raising.

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