StockMarketWire.com - London equities began on the front foot after a gruelling Friday turn that saw key indices plumb depths not seen for some time. Financials and pharmas provided early direction, after falls on Wall St and in Asia, with miners and oilies falling after Iran sanctions were lifted.

Soon after the open, FTSE 100 was up 39.15 points, or 0.67%, to 5843.25, just above a three year low. FTSE 250 was up 43.95, or 0.27%, to 16,204.5, overlooking a one-year nadir. At 8.30am, crude was slightly above USD28/bbl, it suffering on the prospect of Iran exports.

Old Mutual (OML) kicked ahead 2.34% to 155.25, with Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) rising 1.63% to 230.1p and Lloyds (LLOY) adding 1.38% to 65.6p. Other financials followed. Pharmas followed Shire (SHP), up 2.06% to 4265p. Astrazeneca (AZN) firmed 1.06% to 4274.75p.

Overall, about 80 blue chips were gaining, most by less than 1%. Of note were airlines, commercial property, house builders and leisure-linked stocks. To the south, Fresnillo (FRES) guided miners with a fall of 1.16% to 682p. Randgold (RRS) shed 0.83% to 4350.5p.

Oil majors were under pressure, continuing their Friday theme. BG (BG.) lost 0.41% to 931.2p, while BP (BP.) faded 0.41% to 336.75p and Shell (RDSA) ebbed 0.48% to 1344.5p. Traders will be looking to more insight into potential Iran crude exports given a lingering global glut.

BIGGER MOVERS

Ceres Power (CWR), up 22.04% to 5.26p, has signed a new two-year Joint Development Agreement with Honda R&D Co Ltd to jointly develop Solid Oxide Fuel Cell stacks using Ceres Power's metal supported Steel Cell technology for a range of potential power equipment applications.

Petroceltic International (PCI), down 20.28% to 14.25p, has received a further waiver of repayments under its Senior Bank Facility extending to Jan. 29. Iofina (IOF), down 11.06% to 9.01p, said that during 2015 it produced 569.1 metric tonnes (MT) of crystalline iodine, versus 327.7 MT in 2014, from its IOsorb plants.

Active Energy (AEG), up 16.59% to 5.98p, said its AEG WoodFibre division has secured two significant new supply contracts for 2016, and that it is investing in a new softwood production line to augment its recently-upgraded hardwood processing facilities.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Premier African Minerals (PREM), up 13.33% to 0.43p, has provided details of the Underground Implementation at its RHA Tungsten Mine (RHA). The company is operator and holds a 49% interest. Bellzone Mining (BZM), down 10% to 0.45p, is to raise GBP1.35m, net, through a placing of 339.2m new shares at 0.398113p each with Hudson Global Group Ltd.

Trinity Exploration and Production (TRIN), up 9.09% to 3p, has agreed a further extension to the moratorium on principal repayments, relating to Trinity's outstanding debt balance of USD13.0m with its lender, until Jan. 22.

MX Oil (MXO), down 7.69% to 0.9p, noted its recent share price move and speculation it is raising money at 1p, the nominal price of its shares. It said was in talks with investors regarding a potential equity investment, alongside on-going talks for further debt investment.

Portmeirion (PMP), up 5.36% to 982.5p, expects its profit FY pretax profit to be slightly ahead of market expectations. It remains committed to a progressive dividend policy. Brady (BRY), up 5.88% to 58.5p, has secured four new contracts since its last update on Dec. 17.

Paragon Entertainment (PEL), up 5.08% to 1.55p, has entered into a joint representation agreement with Funlandia, a China-based designer and manufacturer of leisure and play equipment. Ariana Resources (AAU), up 5% to 0.84p, reports excellent results from the drilling programme completed during November at the Kizilcukur project.

IXICO (IXI), up 5.08% to 31p, has been awarded four new contracts with prominent pharmaceutical companies and a specialist biotechnology company, with a combined value of over GBP3.0m. Nasstar (NASA), up 2.99% to 8.63p, said its directors are confident FY revenues and adjusted EBITDA will be in line with expectations.

Home Retail (HOME), up 2.44% to 157.35p, has agreed to sell Homebase to Bunnings (UK&I) Holdings, a subsidiary of Wesfarmers for GBP340m in cash. FDM Group (FDM), up 2.23% to 537.75p, expects its FY results to be slightly ahead of the board's forecasts having maintained its strong performance in H2 2015.

Other stocks in the news included Christie (CTG), Phorm (PHRM), BrainJuicer (BJU), Union Jack Oil (UJO), Universe (UNG), Exillon Energy (EXI), Wolseley (WOS), International Greetings (IGR), Lok'nStore (LOK), Fusionex (FXI), Daniel Stewart Securities (DAN), Coal of Africa (CZA), Tissue Regenix (TRX), Milestone (MSG), Condor Gold (CNR) and Ibstock (IBST).




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