StockMarketWire.com - FTSE indices were trading sideways in early deals after yesterday's stellar rebound in resources stocks. Investors are cautious ahead of UK Chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement early this afternoon. Wall St closed firmer, and Asian markets are mixed.

Shortly after the open, FTSE 100 was up 6.05 points, or 0.09%, to 6748.15. FTSE 250 fell 4, or 0.03%, to 15,829.0. Osborne is expected to make a string of announcements on spending and financial matters, the BBC picking these will range from devolution of northern towns to tax avoidance measures.

Sage Group (SGE) led blue chips up with a 2.32% gain to 412.55p as its FY pretax profit soared 69.1% to £278m, from £164m. Total dividend was 12.12p a share, from 11.32p. Supermarkets were on the up, Sainsbury (SBRY) leading with a rise of 1.22% to 244.15p, and followed by Morrisons (MRW) and Tesco (TSCO).

Financials were rising, too. Insurers were mildly firmer and piloted by Prudential (PRU), up 0.72% to 1563.75p. Legal & General (LGEN) followed. Banks enjoyed tepid gains with Standard Chartered (STAN), up 0.69% to 946.8p, leading RBS (RBS) and Lloyds (LLOY).

After yesterday's heady performance miners were lower. Antofagasta (ANTO) captained miners to the downside, falling 1.62% to 729p, followed by Randgold Resources (RRS), Fresnillo (FRES) and Glencore (GLEN). Several energy stocks suffered, too. Shell (RDSA) was off 0.6% to 2194.75p, followed by Cairn Energy (CNE) and Tullow Oil (TLW).

BIGGER MOVERS

Ultrasis (ULT) major shareholder Paul Bell is not prepared to participate in any refinancing proposal for the company at this time. He would provide some limited support. If Ultrasis cannot raise additional funds by early January it would have to consider if it could trade beyond that date. Its shares cliff dived 60% to 0.05p.

Universe (UNG), up 19.23% to 7.75p, has confirmed a major new contract with supermarket Morrisons. The contract, for the design and build of the loyalty platform for Morrisons new price match and points card 'Match & More', began earlier in 2014 and has been rolled out.

WH Ireland (WHI) said whilst its underlying trading performance has improved slightly on last year the board now expects adjusted operating profits to be below its previous expectations. Shares in WH Ireland sagged 11.11% to 84p.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

API Group's (API) H1 pretax profit fell to £2.3m, from £2.6m, as revenue slipped. The downturn in the US foils business materially impacted results for the half year. Current trading was tough, API said, hiking its interim dividend 7% to 0.75p. Its shares fell 9.74% to 44p.

Ladbrokes (LAD), up 3.22% to 117.15p, will shortly start a process to identify a successor for CEO Richard Glynn who leaves the company in 2015 after five years. The search will evaluate both internal and external candidates.

Zambeef (ZAM) is in preliminary discussions with a third party regarding the potential full disposal of Zamanita Limited, the group's wholly owned subsidiary and one of the largest edible oil and soya meal producers in Zambia. Its shares rose 5.88% to 13.5p.

The Innovation Group's (TIG) FY pretax profit has slipped to £13.2m, from £14.4m a year earlier. Revenue was £209.8m, from £204.4m. A final dividend of 0.2p a share was proposed, taking the total to 0.3p, from nil. Its shares rose 2.05% to 31.38p.



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