- FTSE indices closed a tickle higher with resources, financial and consumer goods stocks in focus, while Wall St softened following a raft of data.

At 5 p.m., the FTSE 100 was up 4.24 points, or 0.06%, to 6843.11, while the FTSE 250 was up 38.32 points, or 0.24%, to 16,126.

In the US, the Dow was down 53 points to 16,791, the Nasdaq shed 13 points to 4319 and the S&P 500 lost 6 points to 1938. In Asia today the Nikkei closed down 96 points at 14,974 and the Hang Seng was off 104 points at 23,154.

Among the resources stocks on the up was Lonmin (LMI), ahead 8.87% to 257.7p, after it said informal undertakings have been reached in principle with the leadership of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union over wages and conditions of employment.

It was followed by Randgold Resources (RRS), up 1.85% to 4565p. Otherwise it was broader energy stocks that figured, albeit further down the leaders' board.

Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) added 0.67% to 2483.5p, followed by Cairn Energy (CNE), up 0.7% to 201.5p, Petrofac (PFC), up 0.65% to 1248p, and Wood Group (WG.), up 0.57% to 790p.

Consumer goods outfits were noticeable risers. Reckitt Benckiser (RB.) rose 1.27% to 5190p, while break-up chatter kept Unilever (ULVR) bubbling along, up 0.52% to 2692p.

PZ Cussons (PZC) said its performance for the year to end-May was in line with management expectations with sterling profits expected to be about 6% higher than the previous year. Its shares sidled 0.62% down to 354.8p.

Financial stocks were not far off the pace. Admiral (ADM) was up 1.66% to 1535p, followed by and Investec (INVP), up 0.95% to 533.5p. Lloyds (LLOY) rose 0.53% to 79.48p, and was followed by Standard Chartered (STAN), Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and HSBC Holdings.

Pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca (AZN) gained 0.51% to 4422.5p in the wake of Wednesday's comments by Pfizer on price being the reason for the failure of its bid approach. Glaxosmithkline (GSK) added 0.25% to 1615.5p.

Mining stocks provided ballast as they followed industrial metals prices lower. Anglo American (AAL) slumped 3.18% to 1418p, and Rio Tinto (RIO) shed 3.12% to 3058p.


Synairgen (SNG) announces a global licence agreement with AstraZeneca for SNG001, a novel, inhaled interferon beta (IFN-beta) in clinical development for treating respiratory tract viral infections in patients with severe asthma. Its shares rose 33.96% to 71p on the news.

Surface Transforms (SCE) said while good progress is being made on the crucial game changing contracts, revenue in the year ended 31 May 2014 was about £1.3m. "Whilst this is below market expectations, it represents an 18% increase in revenue over the previous year." Its shares were sold down 18.89% to 9.13p.

Max Petroleum (MXP) said as at 31 March 2014 it was estimated the group had 9.5m barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe) in proved and probable (2P) reserves with an after-tax net present value discounted at 10% (PV10) of $184m. Its total proved, probable and possible (3P) reserves rose 7% to 10.4 mmboe as at 31 March 2014. Its shares fell 25.33% to 1.4p.

Tissue Regenix Group (TRX) has launched DermaPure, its decellularised dermis product, in the US. Tissue Regenix's partner CTS (Community Tissue Services) will begin shipping product to customers next week. Shares in the company rose 29.27% to 26.5p.

Wildhorse Energy (WHE) fell 22.86% to 0.54p on announcing a proposed pro-rata, non-renounceable rights issue to raise up to about AUD$1.435m gross. The funds would be used as general working capital to further Wildhorse's existing projects and also to identify and evaluate additional uranium and other resource projects.

B&M European Value Retail's (BME) initial public offering is priced at 270p per share giving the company a market capitalisation of £2,700m. Its shares were trading at 283.13p.


US business inventories in April were estimated at $1,728.3bn, up 0.6% from March 2014 and 5.0 higher than a year ago, the US Department of Commerce (USDC) said today.

US initial unemployment claims rose to 317,000 in the week ending 7 June, an increase of 4,000 from the previous week's revised level. The US Department of Labor said the previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 312,000 to 313,000.

US import prices ticked up 0.1% in May, after a 0.5-percent downturn in April, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Higher fuel prices drove the increase in May, after declining fuel prices led the decrease the previous month.

US retail sales excluding motor vehicles and parts - the so-called core retail sales - rose by 0.1% in May and were 2.3% up on a year ago, USDC data showed. A 0.4% rise had been forecast.

US retail sales rose to $437.6bn in May, an increase of 0.3% previous month, and 4.3% up on a year ago, USDC data revealed. An increase of 0.5% had been forecast.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said its main house price balance rose to +57 in May, from a revised +55 in April. The market had expected a reading of +52.

Germany’s wholesale price index fell to -0.1% in May, from 0.2% in April. The market had expected a fall of 0.3%. France's consumer price inflation was flat at a seasonally adjusted 0.0% in May, from 0.0% in April. The market had expected a rise of 0.1%.


First-half revenues at Image Scan (IGE), the AIM-listed specialist supplier of x-ray screening systems to the security and industrial inspection markets, rose by 57% to £1,678,000. Its shares were up 9.09% to 3p, off earlier highs.

Argos and Homebase owner Home Retail Group (HOME) said total sales at Argos grew by 4.8% to £868m in the quarter to end-May, with online sales booming, while total sales at Homebase grew by 5.5% to £445m. Its shares fell 3.79% to 193p.

Project management specialist WS Atkins (ATK), up 1.51% to 1346p, said underlying profit before tax for the year to end-March was £106.4m, an increase of 7.3% over last year. The unadjusted reported profit before tax was £114.2m (2013 restated: £98.0m).

Aer Lingus (AERL) has warned 2014 operating profits will be 10-20% lower than last time due to threatened strike action. It welcomed indications from trade union Impact to defer two further one-day strikes called on 16 and 18 June. Shares in the outfit fell 2.03% to 1.45p. (BOO), the 'global fashion leader for a social generation,' reports operating profits of £10.8m for the year to the end of February, 229% up on last time. Revenues were 63% higher at £109.8m and gross profits rose to £64.9m from £36.7m with margins increasing to 59.1% from 54.5%. Its shares rose 7.61% to 49.5p on the news.

Opsec Security Group (OSG) booked a marginally wider FY pretax loss of £3.22m, from a loss of £3.20m. Revenue was £55.5m, from £51.7m. Its shares slid 7.25% to 32p.

Fashion and home furnishing group Laura Ashley's (ALY) total retail sales fell by 0.9% in the first 19 weeks of its current financial year to the end of January 2015. But like-for-like sales were up 0.7% during the period. Its shares were down 4.5% to 26.5p.

Volex (VLX) swung to a FY pretax loss of $7.6m, from a profit of $1.9m. Revenue was $400.2m, from $473.2m. It separately proposed a placing and open offer of 24.1m new shares at 75p each to raise about £18.1m. Its shares fell 0.46% to 79.38p.

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