StockMarketWire.com - Stronger banking stocks struggled to keep the FTSE 100 in positive territory as HSBC (HSBA) remained weak.

Lloyds (LLOY) and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) rallied 1.2% to 66.8p and 2.1% to 256.2p.

One of the biggest FTSE 100 stocks in terms of market cap, HSBC, dipped 0.8% to 758.5p.

The FTSE was broadly unmoved at 7,427.

Brent crude was up 0.3% to $52.54 per barrel. Copper was down 0.3% to $6,327 per tonne and gold fell 0.8% to $1,261 per ounce.

Retailer Next (NXT) bounced back from a difficult year after announcing that sales were better than expected during its second quarter June and July sales. With plenty of cash also building on the balance sheet, shares in the company rocketed 9% to £43.76.

OVERSEAS MARKETS

Strong results from iPhone maker Apple lifted the Dow Jones 0.2% higher to 22,016 overnight, marking a new all-time high for the index.

In Asia, investor sentiment was weak as China's SSE Composite led the stock markets lower. The index was 0.4% down at 3,272 this morning.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

There was good news from gold miner Randgold Resources (RRS). The company sustained its strong performance record with second-quarter results that positioned it well to achieve its guidance for 2017 and prompted a 3.2% share price rally to £72.20.

Aviva (AV.) hiked its interim dividend by 13% to 8.4p and boosted operating profit by 11% to £1.5bn, which the insurer believes is due to its geographic and product diversity. Aviva ticked 2% higher to 549p.

In the healthcare sector, ConvaTec (CTEC) reported that adjusted operating profits fell to $193.5m in the six months to the end of June, down from $209m last time. The disappointing results spooked investors as the stock dropped 6.9% to 287.7p.

Remaining in the sector, UDG Healthcare (UDG) increased its guidance for constant currency adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) for the year to 30 September 2017. The company hiked its EPS guidance from a range of 15% to 18% to between 17% and 19%, but this failed to push the shares higher. UDG was down 2.2% at 821.5p.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

A warning from Inmarsat (ISAT) that its markets remained challenging and the outlook continued to be unpredictable unsettled the market, prompting a 3.7% fall to 759p.

Defence firm Cobham (COB) reported a profit of £34.7m in the first half of 2017, up from a £12m loss. The strong results helped the stock gain positive momentum, up 5.8% to 142p.

In the mining sector, Ferrexpo (FXPO) rose 2.2% to 244p as investors were unimpressed with a 29% rise in sales to $591m.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

DFS Furniture (DFS) said it would acquire Sofology for £25m on a debt-free cash-free basis, causing the stock to advance 4.7% to 223.9p.

On the AIM market, Griffin Mining (GFM) gained 5.2% to 70.5p as the company reported a $23.5m profit of $23.5m, up from a $1.8m loss in the first half of 2016.

Shares in Sunrise Resources (SRES) soared 49% to 0.18p after the company announced it will expand the CS Pozzolan-Perlite programme from five drill holes to nine.


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