- FTSE indices ended mixed, the blue chip barely down and the mid cap scarcely up, with retail, supermarket and beverage stocks notable fallers as Wall St got off to a positive start on housing data.

At 5 p.m. and ahead of the long weekend, the FTSE 100 was down 4.81 points, or 0.07%, to 6815.75, while the FTSE 250 was up 30.94 points, or 0.2%, to 15,706.

In the US, the Dow rose 48 points to 16,594, the Nasdaq added 17 points at 4172 and the S&P 500 gained 6 points to 1899. In Asia, the Nikkei closed up 124 points at 14,462 and the Hang Seng was ahead 8 points at 22,962.

Associated British Foods (ABF) led the pack down, falling 1.75% to 2967p, followed by retailers Burberry (BRBY), down 1.7% to 1503p, and Next (NXT), down 1.65% to 6550p.

Drinks giant Diageo (DGE) lost 1.17% to 1902p, while SABMiller (SAB) fell 1.35% to 3326.5p. Reckitt Benckiser (RB.) fell 0.79% to 5000p, as Unilever (ULVR) faded 0.13% to 2664.5p.

Men's formal wear specialist Moss Bros (MOSB) fell 1.63% to 120.5p despite delivering a solid trading statement. Trading improved over the year's opening 16 weeks to 17 May, though subdued hire sales detracted from strong 8.5% like-for-like growth in the retail business, driven by e-commerce gains and store refurbishments.

Investors discounted some supermarket shares. Morrisons (MRW) fell 1.07% to 202.7p, and Marks & Spencer (MKS) shed 1.03% to 443.2p.

Other fallers included energy stocks, Tullow Oil (TLW) falling 1.23% to 841p, while among the utility companies Severn Trent (SVT) lost 0.88% to 1924p and United Utilities (UU.) retreated 1.28% to 857p.

Among the insurers, Prudential (PRU) fell 1.11% to 1384.5p and RSA Insurance (RSA) lost 1.1% to 476.4p.

Insurance and holidays provider for the over-50s Saga (SAGA) was trading at 185.38p as conditional dealing kicked off in the latest company to debut in London. The float was priced at the bottom of its revised range, most likely because institutional investors weren't prepared to pay a premium rating desired by Saga.

Pfizer love interest AstraZeneca (AZN) added 1.25% to 4328.5p. Growing support for London Stock Exchange's (LSE) move to acquire US-based index provider and asset manager Russell Investments lifted the shares 2.4% to 1852.5p.

Big-ticker miners were especially prominent on the plus side, Anglo American (AAL) rising 2.31% to 1573.5p and Antofagasta (ANTO) adding 1.65% to 799p.

Lonmin (LMI), which has been badly hit in recent months by strikes at its mines in South Africa, was up 5.4% to 261.4p. Together with Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum Holdings it has advised that facilitated mediation between the companies and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) are continuing under the auspices of the Labour Court.


Prospective unconventional oil and gas play Rose Petroleum (ROSE:AIM) soared 127.03% to 2.1p as it published a reserve report and economic analysis of its newly acquired acreage in Utah and finnCap initiates with 5p price target.

China-based environmental engineering company Tinci Holdings (TNCI) posts swung into the black in the year to the end of December with a pre-tax profit of RMB1.66m against a loss of RMB2.9m in 2012. Its shares swung higher, stacking on 41.94% to 5.5p.

There's big news for the train operators as one of the big London franchises is won by Go-Ahead (GOG), its shares up 8.97% to 2113p. It has pinched the expanded Thameslink network from FirstGroup (FGP), up 1.26% to 136.5p. Investec called it a 'major coup' for Go-Ahead, gives certainty over rail earnings for a number of years and raising the chance of a dividend hike in the future. It raised the price target for the winner from 2300p to 2630p.

Oil explorer Mediterranean Oil & Gas (MOG:AIM) gushed up 17.78% to 6.63p as rival Rockhopper (RKH:AIM) made a recommended cash and shares offer for the company worth up to £45.3m. Rockhopper, itself down 1.85% to 92.75p, is paying 6.5p a share up front with a contingent payment of 3.5p dependent on the success of an exploration well targeting the Hagar Qim prospect offshore Malta.

Struggling online services procurement portal Blur (BLUR:AIM) got its FY numbers out at last, which were roughly in line with heavily downgraded expectations after its bookings bombshell. A deeply discounted $20m cash call saw the shares collapse again, falling 19.43% to 85p, almost back to the 78p October 2012 IPO price. The stock was trading at 792.5p in January.

Electric scooter producer Vmoto (VMT:AIM) sped up 14.29% to 2.8p on another positive trading missive, highlighting profitable growth and burgeoning brand traction in China and Asia generally.

A three-year contract for its auto reporting software with Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) sparked a 15.04% share price jump to 65p for Arria NLG (NLG:AIM).


US sales of new single-family houses rose to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 433,000 in April, estimates from the US Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development showed. This is 6.4% above the revised March rate of 407,000, but is 4.2% below the April 2013 estimate of 452,000. An increase to 426,000 was forecast.

The Germany IFO - Business Climate came in at 110.4 in May, data from CESifo Group showed, marginally below forecasts for 111 and from 111.2 in April.

Italian retail sales fell a seasonally adjusted -0.2% in March, against expectations for a rise of 0.3%.


Smiths (SMIN) was up 0.53% to 1322p in spite of its latest profit warning. The culprit was its detection division, a maker of sensors to detect explosives, chemical agents and biohazards, which is expected to see FY profits £25m below expectations thanks to working capital requirements, a £9m hit from lower volumes and lower margin work and £4m of additional costs associated with long-running contracts.

FTSE 250 biotech BTG (BTG) rose 6.4% to 582p after securing clearance from the US regulator for its EkoSonic Endovascular System for treating pulmonary embolisms, a blockage in the artery.

EasyJet (EZJ) founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou is bringing his hotels business to the stockmarket. A £60m fund raise would accompany admission to Aim for EasyHotel, giving a pot of money to acquire and develop new hotels. The business presently has two freehold sites and 17 franchised hotels.

Quindell (QPP:AIM) unveiled its long-mooted share consolidation plans, though it did little for the battered share price, down 1.27% to 19.5p. Quindell wants investors to support a 15-for-1 stock fusion as it lines up a main market switch and likely FTSE 250 entrance.

Profitable budget footwear seller Shoe Zone (SHOE:AIM) was trading at 169p in debut Aim dealings, joining the market's burgeoning band of businesses targeting the value sector. Story provided by