- London equities finished mixed after Bank of England held its benchmark interest rate steady at 0.25%, with a hike in its 2017 inflation outlook for the UK immediately undermining an already lower sterling.

The FTSE 100 closed up 1.39 points, or 0.02% to 7386.63 and the FTSE 250 was down 91.85 or 0.46%, to 19,785.0. A lengthy list of ex-dividend stocks was a factor throughout the session. Stocks ladders on Wall St and in Europe were lower.

Sterling was down on the dollar, while prices for gold, silver, copper and crude-oil rose. The currency faded on the dollar earlier after disappointing UK trade deficit and output data.

The UK's central bank also left its Quantitative Easing programme unchanged. However, it raised its 2017 consumer price inflation forecasts to 2.7%, from 2.4% previously. Average earnings were seen at 2% in 2017.

Hikma (HIK) dived 8.23% to 1795p on stating there was a low likelihood its generic version of GlaxoSmithKline's Advair Diskus for treating asthma would get US approval this year.

It was followed by ex-divs Centrica (CNA), down 5.41% to 192.2p, Sainsbury (SBRY), down 2.43% to 265.1p, Admiral (ADM), down 3.23% to 2038p, and Merlin (MERL), down 1.27% to 500.05p. Some other ex-div stocks were AA (AA.), Carillion (CLLN), Glaxosmithkline (GSK) and Sage (SGE).

Mondi (MNDI), down 1.67% to 2000p, posted an underlying Q1 operating profit of €252m, down 6% down on the prior-year's €269m. BT (BT.A), down 4.5% to 297.85p, said its FY reported pretax profit fell 19%. Bonuses would not be paid to the CEO and the group's former FD.

On the other side of the ledger, gold specialist Fresnillo (FRES) rose 5.03% to 1503p, while Randgold (RRS) added 3.62% to 7150p. Gains among multi-commodity miners were limited, but helped the FTSE 100 up.

Coca-Cola HBC AG (CCH), up 0.27% to 2190p, 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.


UK's total trade deficit (goods and services) widened by £5.7bn to £10.5bn in Q1 2017, from Q4 2016.

The country's total trade deficit between February and March widened by £2.3bn to £4.9bn. In other UK data, industrial production, Manufacturing production and construction output all came in worse than expected.


Spaceandpeople (SAL) rose 45.1% to 37p after reporting that 2017 had started strongly for the company, with profitability ahead of expectations and seen continuing throughout the rest of 2017.

Flowgroup (FLOW) fell 42.4% to 1.8p 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.

Angus Energy (ANGS) rose 20.83% to 10.88p as it said Alba Mineral Resources (ALBA), up 6.12% to 0.26p, had completed the acquisition of a 5% participating interest in the Brockham Licence.

United Carpets Group (UCG), up 14.63% to 11.75p, 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.

Ncondezi Energy Ltd (NCCL), up 12.5% to 2.25p, said agreement has been reached to extend the shareholder loan repayment date to Sept. 2.

Other stocks in the news included Watchstone (WTG), Microsaic Systems (MSYS), Scancell (SCLP), SuperGroup (SGP), Ceres Power (CWR), W Resources (WRES), 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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