- FTSE indices raced ahead prior to UK Chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement, due at 12.30pm, with house builders, commercial property and financial stocks leading about 90 blue-chip risers. There was an impressive volume of mid- and small-cap corporate news.

To noon, FTSE 100 was up 58.08, or 0.93%, to 6335.31. FTSE 250 was up 156.95, or 0.93%, to 17,106.9, extending three months of range-bound trade. Bourses in Germany and France were up 1.4% each. At 11.42am, crude was down 1.5%-1.6%. Gold and copper were at USD1072/oz and USD204/lb.

Housing is seen at the centre of Osborne's statement, and so it was that Persimmon (PSON), up 5.78% to 1885p, Taylor Wimpey (TW.), up 5.33% to 187.6p, Barratt Developments (BDEV), up 4.96% to 587.25p, and Berkeley Group (BKG), up 4.23% to 3168.5p, were to the fore. Pharma stock Hikma (HIK) advanced 0.81% to 2117p on selling the dormant manufacturing assets of Ben Venue Laboratories for an undisclosed sum.

Commercial property, led by a 1.69% rise in Land Securities (LAND) to 1233.5p, was also rising but well off the house builders' pace. Financials were studded throughout the leaders' ladder. Standard Chartered (STAN), rising 2.63% to 564.55p, led banks, while Schroders (SDR), gaining 2.45% to 2969p, guided investment specialists.

Within the retail sphere, Tesco (TSCO), up 2.07% to 167.8p, guided supermarkets, while Reckitt Benckiser (RB.), up 1.77% to 6364.5p, led consumer goods. High-street retailers were generally further back, as was the case for several pharmas and utilities. United Utilities (UU.) fell 1.15% to 947p despite improving its H1 pretax profit.

Miners were distinctly on the back foot. Anglo American (AAL) shed 7.15% to 419.68p, Glencore (GLEN) faded 1.4% to 92.66p. Several sector peers trailed. Meantime, Shire (SHP), off 3.17% to 4498.5p, was the sole pharma faller, and Royal Mail (RMG) lost 1.43% to 480.45p.


W Resources (WRES), up 37.86% to 0.71p, has received development approval for its La Parrilla Fast Track Mine (FTM) in Spain. Approval was granted by the Mining Department of the regional authority of the Junta de Extremadura. Environmental approval was received in July 2015.

SeaEnergy (SEA) falls 22.22% to 3.5p as it warned of a substantial loss in 2015 thanks to the downturn in industry spending. Weatherly Int'l (WTI), down 21.74% to 0.45p, said that at the current price of copper the Tschudi min was not making sufficient operating cash for the service of its debt facility.

Graphene NanoChem (GRPH), up 15.52% to 12.13p, has entered into a three-year leasing and tolling agreement with Temasek Growth Sdn Bhd for the production of refined bleached deodorized palm oil at its Lahad Datu Plant in Sabah, Malaysia.

Thomas Cook (TCG), up 9.2% to 107.4p, has swung to a FY pretax profit of GBP119m, from a prior-year loss of GBP115m. Revenue was much lower at GBP7.8bn, from GBP8.6bn. It expected a dividend to paid early in 2017 in respected of FY 2016.


UK mortgage approvals rose to 45,537 in October, from 44,825 in September, data from British Bankers' Association showed. The print was consistent with market expectations.


Oilex (OEX) shed 9.68% to 0.7p after shareholders rejected all resolutions at its AGM in Australia. The vote means Jeffrey Auld was not re-elected as an independent director, nor was Sundeep Bhandari who withdrew his nomination. Resolutions relating to director remuneration and changes to the company's constitution were also rejected.

Publisher Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) sank 7.02% to 655.5p despite in-line results. The market instead focused on a weak outlook for 2016. The company noted it was unlikely to hit its GBP100m revenue target for online operation MailOnline next year and warning of challenging market conditions in the UK print advertising market.

Herencia Resources (HER), up 6.67% to 0.08p, said further sampling at the Montenegro mine, in Chile, has identified widespread and high-grade copper mineralisation grading up to 5.9% copper. Plant Impact (PIM) is 4.64% higher at 62p after it posted a positive update that pointed to a strong start to FY 2016 trading across all its geographies.

Betfair (BET) climbed 3.25% to 3594p on a 15% rise in revenue to GBP247.4m despite tough comparatives from last year's Football World Cup. EBITDA was 9% higher to GBP80.5m, notwithstanding the GBP26.8m hit from the Point of Consumption Tax. Its merger with Paddy Power was on track for completion in Q1 2016.

RPC (RPC) rose 4% to 708.25p on a 38% surge in H1 adjusted pretax profit to GBP75.8m. It has realised GBP9.4m of synergies from its acquisition of Promens and Ace and was now targeting total syngergies of GBP36m by end-2016/17, from an estimated GBP21.6m.

VP (VP.), up 4.03% to 749p, has posted an H1 pretax profit of GBP16.3m, from GBP15.5m, with revenue rising to GBP105.1m, from GBP101.3m. The company cited a year of so far 'solid progress' on lifting interim dividend to 5.35p a share, from 5p.

Other stocks in the news included Greencoat UK Wind (UKW), Indivior (INDV), Regenersis (RGS), Hogg Robinson Group (HRG), Betfair (BET), RPC Group (RPC), Primary Health Properties (PHP), Obtala Resources (OBT), HSS Hire Group (HSS), Cohort (CHRT), Nord Gold NV (NORD), MySale (MYSL), Aggregated Micro Power Holdings (AMPH), XP Power (XPP), Cobham (COB), Victoria (VCP), Britvic (BVIC), Findel (FDL), Finsbury Food (FIF), Horizon Discovery (HZD), Total (TTA), Chemring (CHG) and Findel (FDL). Story provided by