- FTSE indices tiptoed lower on a mixed bag of sectors, following on from Asia's similarly varied performance this morning and overnight gains on Wall St. Several miners were lower, as were a number of insurers, retailers and pharmas.

Shortly after the open, FTSE 100 was down 39.08 points, or 0.58%, to 6697.14. FTSE 250 was down 39.7, or 0.22%, to 17,721.2. At 8.49am, key European markets were moderately lower, as was crude oil. Gold was a smidgen higher at $1106.

Burberry led blue chips south with a 2.27% slide to 1570.5p, with GKN (GKN) following suit and down 1.76% to 315.65p. Prudential (PRU) led several insurers down with its fall of 1.51% to 1483.75p, among them Direct Line (DLG), down 1.07% to 383.65p.

Also softer was BHP Billiton (BLT), down 1.34% to 1192p.75p, with Glencore (GLEN) trailing. In the pharma sphere Glaxosmithkline (GSK) eased 1.01% to 1442.75p, while Tesco's (TSCO) slip of 1.03% to 210.55p outpaced falls in other supermarkets.

Several beverages firms, house builders and utilities also lost traction. A tickle more than 10 blue chips made headway, these led by a 1.83% gain in Randgold Resources (RRS) to 4003p, with Fresnillo following. Oily major BP (BP.) managed a 0.43% rise to 387.15p, with Shell (RDSA) up, too.


Eurasia Mining (EUA), up 12.5% to 0.9p, has started drilling at the Monchetundra PGM licence area. It expects this work will add reserves and resources to the project for incorporation into a mining licence application.

Stratex International (STI), up 9.52% to 2.3p, has provided encouraging results from its Dalafin gold project in Senegal, following exploration work at the Madina Bafe prospect in the south of the licence area.


GAME Digital (GMD), up 2.88% to 267.5p, expects its FY results to be in line with forecasts after a positive H2 performance. Gloo Networks (GLOO), trading at 122.5p, has raised £30m gross via a placing of 25m shares at 120p each ahead of its admission to trading today on AIM.

PCG Entertainment (PCGE), up 4.76% to 5.5p, has substantially widened its FY pretax loss to $8.7m, from a loss of $2.7m. Revenue was $4450, from nil. It booked a goodwill impairment of $5.2m, whereas last year it benefitted from a $2.2m gain on a bargain purchase.

Northcote (NCT), up 3.23% to 0.16p, said Mayan Drilling Fluids (MDF), its JV formed to develop a remediation facility in Comalcalco, Mexico, has entered into an agreement whereby it will perform remediation services with a potential value in the region of US$887,500.

Hargreaves Services (HSP), up 2.81% to 329.5p, has posted H1 continuing underlying pretax profits of £40.3m, down 26.9% down on last time. Continuing revenue fell by 23.8% to £662.2m and continuing underlying operating profits were down 28.1% at £42.8m.

Just Retirement Group (JRG), up 2.44% to 203.55p, and Partnership Assurance Group (PA.), up 9.32% to 168.63p, have reached agreement on the terms of a recommended all-share merger to create JRP Group. The deal is seen resulting in JRG shareholders owning about 60% of the combined group and PA. shareholders the rest.

YouGov (YOU), up 1.32% to 115p, said its FY trading is in line with its views. Serco (SRP), up 1.55% to 127.45p, has swung to an H1 pretax loss of £76.2m, from a profit of £10.9m. Interim dividend was nil, from 3.1p a share a year ago. St Ives (SIV), down 1.1% to 179p, said overall FY 2015 results are expected to be in line with current market views.

Wood Group (WG.), up 1.59% to 622.25p, has been awarded a three-year offshore engineering blanket order by PEMEX Procurement International for field development in Mexicos Gulf of Mexico waters. The agreement is worth up to $28m. Johnston Press (JPR), up 1.59% to 111.5p, has posted H1 underlying pretax profits of £17.8m, up by £9.5m on last time.

Other stocks in the news included Gaming Realms (GMR), Lok'nStore (LOK), Velocys (VLS), Ladbrokes (LAD), PPHE Hotel Group (PHE), Card Factory (CARD), Synthomer (SYNT), Everyman Media Group (EMAN), SIG Plc (SIG), Xeros Technology Group (XSG), Exillon Energy (EXI) and Afarak (AFRK).

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