- London shares opened marginally lower as cautious investors look towards a string of UK data mid morning and the Bank of England's interest rate decision, inflation report and monetary policy summary at midday.

A significant number of stocks going ex-dividend also dented proceedings. In early deals the FTSE 100 was down 1.78 points, or 0.02%, to 7383.46, while the FTSE 250 was down 41.82, or 0.21%, to 19,835.0. European indices were mixed, and sterling was up a bit on the dollar.

Hikma (HIK) plunged 8.05% to 1798.5p on stating it believed there was a low likelihood its generic version of GlaxoSmithKline's Advair Diskus for the treatment of asthma would receive US approval this year.

It was chased lower by ex-divs Centrica (CNA), down 5.12% to 192.8p, Admiral (ADM), down 2.85% to 2046p, Sainsbury (SBRY), down 2.54% to 264.8p, and Merlin (MERL), down 1.77% to 497.55p.

Mondi (MNDI), down 4.84% to 1935.5p, posted an underlying Q1 operating profit of €252m, down 6% down on the prior-year's €269m. BT (BT.A), down 1.06% to 308.58p, said its FY reported pretax profit fell 19%. Bonuses would not be paid to the CEO and the group's former FD.

Several insurers, airlines and leisure stocks were notable among other blue-chip fallers, while to the upside miners and commercial property performed well. Antofagasta (ANTO) rose 1.81% to 774.25p, while Fresnillo (FRES) added 1.5% to 1452.5p.

Coca-Cola HBC AG (CCH) saw good revenue growth in Q1. An update said group volume was up 0.7% in the quarter with varied trading conditions across its 28 countries. Among the long-list of ex-div stocks were AA (AA.), Carillion (CLLN), Glaxosmithkline (GSK), Hiscox (HSX), Sage (SGE) and Trinity Mirror (TNI).


Spaceandpeople (SAL) rose 39.71% to 35.62p after reporting that 2017 had started strongly for the company, with profitability ahead of expectations and seen continuing throughout the rest of 2017.

Ncondezi Energy Ltd (NCCL), up 37.5% to 2.75p, said agreement has been reached to extend the shareholder loan repayment date to Sept. 2.

Flowgroup (FLOW) fell 32% to 2.12p on confirming it was in the advanced stages of preparing a significant capital fundraising as a potential alternative to the proposed disposal of the Flow Energy business, as previously announced.


Global Invacom (GINV) rose 22.58% to 9.5p each after swinging to a Q1 net profit of $0.6m, from a loss of $0.7m. It also said that Foxcom, one of its R&D and manufacturing arms, would ship its low-cost iridium/GPS repeater to a leading international airline for installation.

Microsaic Systems (MSYS), up 15% to 2.88p, has developed a novel technology to enable real-time analysis of proteins in bioprocessing applications, such as in the manufacture of biologic molecules (proteins, antibodies and peptides) for therapeutic and diagnostic uses.

United Carpets Group (UCG), up 9.76% to 11.25p, announced a special dividend of 1.0p a share. This dividend would be paid on 25 May. The ex-dividend date would be 18 May.

Scancell Holdings (SCLP), down 7.69% to 10.5p, has proposed a placing to raise up to £5.0m gross, with net proceeds being used to support the company's clinical development pipeline of novel cancer immunotherapies.

Watchstone (WTG), down 5.33% to 142p, has received further correspondence from solicitors acting for Slater & Gordon (SGH), stating an intention to issue proceedings for a claim of c. £600m relating to alleged fraudulent misrepresentation. Watchstone would defend such claims.

SuperGroup (SGP), down 4.57% to 1575.5p, said its directors anticipated FY underlying pretax profit will be in the range £86m-£87m, in line with market expectations.

Ceres Power Holdings (CWR), up 3.98% to 9.15p, has announced a new SOFC (solid oxide fuel cell) system joint development agreement with one of the global OEMs in its partner portfolio.

W Resources (WRES), up 3.28% to 0.32p, announced an increase in the grades and upgrade in resource categorisation of its JORC resource for La Parrilla following a successful programme of infill drilling in 2016.

Other stocks in the news included SIG (SHI), Keller (KLR), Beazley (BEZ), Unite (UTG), TP ICAP (TCAP), Local Shopping REIT (LSR) and Highbridge Multi-Strategy Fund (HMSF).

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