- London shares were drifting and mixed in early deals as traders laboured over the dichotomy of choosing to back safe-haven assets such as gold and gilts, or risking equities volatility driven by a raft of global factors. Wall St and Asia rose overnight, with Europe up mildly so far.

Soon after the open, FTSE 100 fell 17.69 points, or 0.29%, to 6012.63. FTSE 250 rose 57.59, or 0.36%, to 16,213.9. At 8.30am, WTI crude was at USD31.32/bbl and Brent was at USD34.82/bbl. Gold was at USD1207/bbl. UK 10-year gilt yields had tightened 3bps to 1.45%.

Resources dominated blue-chip fallers. Glencore (GLEN) dropped 3.77% to 115.48p and Anglo American (AAL) fell 3.76% to 450.43p, both likely on profiteering after yesterday's surge. Rio Tinto (RIO), Antofagasta (ANTO) and BHP Billiton (BLT) also softened early on.

Oilies were led lower by Shell (RDSA), off 2.42% to 1602.25p. Otherwise financials were in focus, also coming in for profit taking. Barclays (BARC) fell 1.4% to 165.8p, while Legal and General (LGEN) dropped 1.32% to 223.6p and Aberdeen (ADN) tapered 1.02% to 242.8p.

Overall, about 60 blue chips eased, their number including leisure, supermarkets, telecoms retail and pharmas, with several from these sectors also rising. Utilities tended north. Centrica (CNA), up 3.61% to 201.1p, booked a resilient FY financial performance despite challenging wholesale oil and gas prices. Adjusted operating profits fell 12% to GBP1.46bn.

Stock markets remain highly sensitive to concerns about the global economy and its growth outlook, metals-hungry China's economic prospects, the global glut of crude oil against massive US stockpiles, and Middle East tensions. Financial and resources stocks are vulnerable.


BAE Systems (BA.), up 2.04% to 509.5p, has posted operating profits of GBP1.5bn for 2015, from GBP1.3bn last time. Final dividend was 12.5p a share, taking the total to 20.9p, up 2% on 2014's.

Vodafone (VOD), down 0.51% to 216.2p, intends raise about GBP2.9bn of mandatory convertible bonds, to be issued in two tranches, one with an 18-month maturity and the other with a three-year maturity.

Rexam (REX), down 0.17% to 601p, has booked a FY pretax profit of GBP250m, from a year-ago profit of GBP343m. Sales totalled GBP3.9bn, from GBP3.8bn. Total dividend was 17.7p, unchanged from a year earlier. Completion of the Ball Corp offer was expected by end of H1.


Amerisur Resources (AMER), up 21.15% to 29.38p, has received all approvals for the project to connect the Platanillo field in Colombia with the oil pipeline system in Ecuador, named Oleoducto Binacional Amerisur.

Victoria Oil and Gas (VOG), up 12.13% to 41.63p, has reached an agreement with Glencore Exploration Cameroon Ltd and Afex Global Ltd on the Matanda Block, a large hydrocarbon licence in Cameroon. Terms include assignment by Glencore Cameroon of its 75% participating interest in the Matanda PSC to VOG.

Tullow Oil (TLW), down 8.07% to 175.95p, has informed the Government of Ghana and its Partners of a change to operating procedures at the Jubilee field FPSO due to a potential issue with a turret bearing.


The market is looking to European Central Bank's monetary policy meeting accounts out soon after midday, with US manufacturing and jobless data becoming the focus mid-afternoon.


Providence Resources (PVR), up 6.67% to 12p, said that despite the difficult operating environment it has continued to progress its activities across its portfolio of assets in the Celtic Sea basins.

Go-Ahead Group (GOG), up 5.54% to 2373.5p, has booked an H1 adjusted pretax profit of GBP71.9m, up 26.1% on last time. Its overall results were in line with management forecasts and its FY expectations are unchanged.

Coal of Africa (CZA), down 5.41% to 2.01p, said its recommended offer for Universal Coal has been extended until March 11. It has so far received acceptances for about 41.3% of Universal's issued shares.

Darty (DRTY), up 4.53% to 103.75p, said its like-for-like sales rose 2.7% in the three months to end-January after successful Christmas and winter sales with a strong development of click-and-collect, up 53%.

North Midland Construction (NMD), down 4.02% to 107.5p, said it expects an unadjusted FY profit, albeit significantly below previous management expectations. Indivior (INDV), up 2.64% to 151.6p, confirmed its guidance for FY 2016 after reporting results ahead of plan for 2015.

Judges Scientific (JDG), up 2.5% to 1540p, has acquired CoolLED Limited for an initial cash consideration of GBP3.5m, with an earn-out capped at GBP1.0m. Jarvis Securities (JIM), down 2.29% to 335p, has reported FY pretax profits of GBP3.4m, from GBP3.2m. Revenues rose to GBP7.6m, from GBP7.3m.

Segro (SGRO), up 0.74% to 433.4p, and Roxhill Development Group have created a partnership that will provide Segro with access to a portfolio of big box logistics warehouse development sites in the South East and Midlands.

Other stocks in the news included Groupe Eurotunnel (GET), Personal (PGH), Rurelec (RUR), Savannah Resources (SAV), ISG (ISG), Surface Transforms (SCE) and Tangent Communications (TNG).

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