StockMarketWire.com - London stocks got off to a mixed start with blue chips making mild gains and mid caps lower, with Marks & Spencer (MKS) rising after its FY numbers and Kingfisher (KGF) falling on a Q1 trading update.

Shortly after the open the FTSE 100 was up 10.21 points, or 0.14%, to 7495.5, while the FTSE 250 was down 16.52, or 0.08%, to 19,903.6.

Sterling was ahead on the dollar and euro. Crude prices were moderately ahead, but those for gold, silver and copper were firmly down.

The FTSE 100 was led up by Marks & Spencer (MKS), which rose 2.09% to 395.8p as it posted a FY pretax profit of £176.4m, down from £488.8m, but held its dividend at 18.7p a share.

It was followed up by Tesco (TSCO), ahead 0.55% to 183.6p, and Morrisons (MRW), up 0.45% to 246.2p. Several pharmas also made gains, as did oil majors BP (BP.) and Shell (RDSA) with the price of crude. Insurers and banks also did well.

To the downside, Kingfisher (KGF) led with a 6.57% fall to 335.6p as its performance in France remained weak and it experienced some business disruption from its ONE Kingfisher plan.

It was followed by a string of miners, which were undermined by falling metals prices and after Moody's Investors Services has downgraded China's credit score on worries about the future state of the economy.

Rio Tinto (RIO) fell 2% to 3128.75p, while Fresnillo (FRES) dropped 1.36% to 1560.5p. More followed. Also down were a number of house builders, although some made gains.

BLUE CHIPS IN FOCUS

Apax Partners Midmarket, Fortino Capital and Vodafone (VOD) announced an agreement to combine Melita and Vodafone Malta. The deal would combine Vodafone Malta with Melita, Malta's leading cable, broadband and pay TV provider. Vodafone's shares fell 0.19% to 223.83p.

Mediclinic (MDC), down 1.9% to 852.5p, warned its increased demand was impacted by lower economic growth and more competition unnerved investors as the stock fell 1.7% to 854.5p.

Glencore (GLEN), down 0.98% to 289.1p, has confirmed that its non-consolidated agriculture joint venture, Glencore Agriculture Limited, has made an informal approach to Bunge Limited regarding a possible consensual business combination.

Babcock International's pre-tax profits rose to £362.1m in the year to the end of March - 9.7% up on last time. Revenues were 9.3% up at £4,547.1m and operating profits rose by 2% to £359.6m. Its shares fell 1.73% to 952.75p.




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