- FTSE indices closed on a positive note with both the blue-chip and mid-cap ladders enjoying mild to moderate gains on a string of surging resources stocks, with financial and property outfits adding to the bias. Wall St was mostly higher following a raft of macro data.

FTSE 100 ended the session up 48.26 points, or 0.8%, to 6083.1. FTSE 250 was up 89.32, or 0.52%, to 17,166.2. At 4.42pm, crude was up, but failed to tiptoe back above USD37/bbl. Gold, silver and copper were lower, and other metals prices were mixed. Europe was mixed, too.

Anglo American (AAL) led the pack with a 5.7% surge to 296.5p, with Antofagasta (ANTO) adding 4.66% to 445p. Sentiment was stoked by China saying it would adopt more flexible fiscal and monetary policy in 2016. BHP Billiton (BLT) rose 1.58% to 728p after an update, discussed further down, on the Samarco accident in Brazil.

Oil was in the limelight, too, with BG (BG.) chairing on a 2.91% spike to 344.95p, while Shell (RDSA) added 3.05% to 1486p and BP (BP.) firmed 2.91% to 344.95p. Although still depressed, crude prices are above lows seen earlier this week.

Standard Chartered (STAN) guided banks with a rise of 2.08% to 560.4p, while Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) led investment specialists as it increased 1.72% to 289.8p, and Prudential (PRU) piloted insurers as it added 1.38% to 1503p. House builders gained after Berkeley (BKG), up 3.01% to 3666p, and commercial property followed Intu (INTU), up 0.8% to 315p.

Roughly 25 blue chips surrendered territory, these laced with retail and utilities. M&S (MKS) dropped 1.05% to 442.9p, while Tesco (TSCO) shed 0.31% to 144.85p. Severn Trent (SVT) piloted utilities with a dip of 0.54% to 2124.5p, with Centrica (CNA) and National Grid (NG.) trailing.


BHP Billiton's (BLT) rise followed a court in Brazil ordering Samarco, its JV with Vale, to deposit BRL2bn to a court-managed bank account, or 10% of the sum sought by plaintiffs for clean-up costs and damages in relation to a mine dam burst that claimed at least 17 lives. Non-compliance by the deadline would see Samarco fined BRL1.5bn a day.


Infinity Energy (INFT), down 51.72% to 0.21p, said talks about the possible acquisition of 50% interests in 9 UK PEDL licenses in South Wales, and owned by Eden Energy in Australia, have been terminated.

PipeHawk (PIP) subsidiary QM Systems has been awarded a major contract with Dana UK Axle Ltd to deliver a turnkey system for the assembly of vehicle axles at Dana UK Axles Birmingham, UK facility for over GBP500,000. PipeHawk's shares rose 39.29% to 4.88p on the news.

Bahamas Petroleum (BPC) rallied 31.34% to 1.76p as it got word the Bahamian House of Assembly has passed the Petroleum Bill and associated regulations, as well as a Sovereign Wealth Bill. The Bills will now be sent to the Bahamian Senate and following successful passage the Governor General will receive the Bills for assent into law.

RapidCloud (RCI) crashed 26.19% to 15.5p on a revenue warning. It anticipated barely any progress in sales this year, admitting this was 'below market expectations.'


Stateside, gross domestic product was revised down to annual rate of 2.0% in a 'third' estimate from US Bureau of Economic Analysis, down from 2.1% in the 'second' estimate. In Q2, real GDP increased 3.9%. The US price index for gross domestic purchases rose 1.3% in Q3, from a rise of 1.5% in Q2. Excluding food and energy prices, the price index for gross domestic purchases rose 1.3%, from 1.2%.

US house prices rose 0.5% in October on a seasonally adjusted basis, from the previous month, Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) monthly House Price Index (HPI) showed. The previously reported 0.8% hike in September was revised down to reflect a 0.7% increase.

Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond said US Fifth District manufacturing activity grew modestly in December. The index rose to 6, from -3 in November. Meantime, US existing-home sales dropped off considerably in November to the slowest pace in 19 months, National Association of Realtors said.

Back in Europe, UK consumer confidence rose in December. GfK's consumer confidence index for UK rose by 1 point to +2 in December, beating expectations for a print of +1. Meantime, UK public sector net borrowing rose GBP1.3m to GBP14.2bn in November, beating forecasts.


Red Emperor (RMP), down 17.43% to 0.9p, confirmed its JV partner and operator, Otto Energy, has requested a two-year moratorium be granted by the Philippines Department of Energy over Service Contract 55 (SC 55), offshore Palawan Basin in the Philippines.

Mosman Oil and Gas (MSMN), down 16.44% to 1.88p, is reviewing all aspects of its strategy, not only for South Taranaki Energy Project (STEP), but also all expenditure for exploration on the company's other projects and corporate costs. It noted oil prices below USD37/bbl.

Concha (CHA) tumbled 16% to 0.53p as it booked a FY pretax loss of GBP628,000. That may be down from the previous GBP1.2 million but investors are fed up with undelivered promises.

Stratex Int'l (STI) added 8.77% to 1.55p as it sold its 1% net smelter return (NSR) royalty for the Oksut gold project in Turkey to former JV-partner Centerra Gold for USD4.5m. Arria NLG (NLG), up 3.8% to 30.75p, announces a new framework agreement for configuration, deployment and licensing of multiple NLG applications with Genpact.

Central Rand Gold (CRND) fell 6.9% to 3.38p as it pulled the plug on the potential sale of its Netherlands Antilles business. FastForward Innovations (FFWD), up 5.26% to 10p, is increasing its stake in education technology company Vemo Education to 12.5% after acquiring 527,059 shares from founder Lorne Abony.

Legendary Investments (LEG), up 3.57% to 0.15p, has booked a record H1 profit before and after tax of GBP2.4m, against a loss of GBP231,000 last time. Leaf Clean Energy (LEAF), down 4.05% to 35.5p, has filed a complaint against investee Invenergy Wind LLC in the Delaware Court of Chancery, in relation to TerraForm.

Cape (CIU), up 3.97% to 245.38p, said its SOCAR Cape JV has been awarded a two-year extension contract by BP (BP.) for the provision of Fabric Maintenance Services at its onshore and offshore assets in Azerbaijan. The contract has an estimated value of over USD90m.

Other stocks in the news included Angle (AGL), Bloomsbury Publishing (BMY), Trinity Exploration and Production (TRIN), Mortice (MORT), Koovs (KOOV), ProPhotonix Limited (PPIX), Nostra Terra (NTOG), Tracsis (TRCS), HgCapital (HGT), 21st Century Technology (C21), Schroder European Real Estate Investment Trust (SERE), Shanks Group (SKS), Drum Income Plus REIT (DRIP), Physiomics (PYC) and Aureus Mining (AUE). Story provided by