StockMarketWire.com - London stocks reversed early softness to be in positive territory towards midday with utilities, supermarkets, consumer goods and a mixed bag of others providing cue. Crude was ahead, but still overall depressed since Friday. Europe was firmly ahead.

Centrica (CNA) led utilities with a rise of 1.42% to 228.1p, while Severn Trent (SVT) was ahead 1.28% to 2170.5p and National Grid (NG.) gained 1.2% to 991.1p. Oil majors were rising, but off the blue-chip leaders' pace. Most miners were moderately southbound.

The market remains sensitive to a raft of factors, among them tensions in the Middle East, security concerns in Europe, the health of the global economy and a global crude glut. Of the latter, oil prices sagged as Saudi Arabia cast doubts on an output freeze on Friday.

To noon, FTSE 100 was up 33.05 points, or 0.54%, to 6179.1. FTSE 250 was up 55.97, or 0.33%, to 16,899.7. At 11.33am, WTI crude was at USD36.83/bbl and WTI was at USD38.88/bbl, both down from last week. Gold was at USD1217/oz.

Several supermarkets traced Morrisons (MRW), up 1.3% to 202.5p, while consumer goods trailed Unilever (ULVR), up 1.43% to 3210.25p. Other sectors among the roughly 75 blue-chip risers included commercial property, house builders, pharmas, tobacco and multiple financials.

Mondi (MNDI) fell 2.23% to 1318p on stating it had not received notification of Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service probing Mondi Syktyvkar. It was trailed by Antofagasta (ANTO), off 1.85% to 445.5p, and then RSA Insurance (RSA), lower 1.22% to 470.9p.

Anglo American (AAL), up 1.98% to 549.05p, has agreed to sell its 70% interest in the Foxleigh metallurgical coal mine in Queensland, Australia. Also lower were Asia-focused banks Standard Chartered (STAN), off 1.02% to 449.2p, and HSBC (HSBA), down 0.16% to 431.3p.

BIGGER MOVERS

Landore Resources (LND), up 203.13% to 2.43p, has confirmed a significant gold discovery on its Junior Lake property in Ontario, Canada.

Caza Oil & Gas (CAZA), down 42.61% to 0.33p, has called a special meeting of shareholders to consider a proposal by Talara Opportunities V, LP, its majority shareholder, to take the company private at a cash price of USD0.00481 a share.

Intelligent Energy (IEH) surged 37.23% to 13.38p as it unveiled plans to materially restructure its business, including shedding about 200 jobs, as talks to secure funding continue. Sepura (SEPU), down 29.05% to 140.13%, expects FY revenues of 190m-200m euros, and sees adjusted EBITDA lower than expectations at 16m-20m euros.

ECONOMIC NEWS

Markit/CIPS' UK Construction Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) came in at 54.2 in March, in line with February but slightly below forecasts for 54.3.

Euro-zone investor confidence worsened in April. The Sensix investor confidence index for April came in at 5.7, against an expected 6.9 and from 5.5 previously. Meantime, Euro-zone's PPI for February came in at -0.7%, versus an expected -0.5% and from -1.0% previously.

Euro zone's unemployment rate for February printed at 10.3%, as expected and unchanged from previously. Elsewhere, Spain's unemployment change for March came in at -58.2k, against and expected -50.0k.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Tribal (TRB) dipped 24.24% to 37.88p as it traded ex-rights following a one-for-one equity raise at 22p a share. LiDCO (LID) climbed 6.06% to 8.75p as the US FDA approved the LiDCOunity system for sale in the country.

Sunrise Resources (SRES), down 20% to 0.12p, has raised GBP120,000 gross via a placing of 45.5m shares and a subscription of 63.6m shares, both at a price of 0.11p a share.

Belvoir Lettings (BLV), up 13.51% to 105p, said group revenue for the year to Dec. 31, 2015, rose 19% to GBP6.9m. This was underpinned by strong growth of 25% in management service fees (MSF) to GBP4.0m, reflecting organic growth of 12.5% from the Belvoir network and a further 12.5%.

Chemring (CHG) rallied 8.65% to 141.25p on confirming the start of a 40mm ammunition contract to an end user in the Middle East. The deal, referred to in the company's Jan. 21 results, has the required letter of credit in place and advance payment now having been received.

Lakehouse (LAKE), down 4.18% to 48.63p, has sent a letter to shareholders setting out why they should reject all the resolutions proposed by requisitionists. Daily Internet (DAIP), up 5.63% to 1.88p, expects its FY results to show a significant improvement on last time.

First Derivatives (FDP), up 4.41% to 1526.5p, expects its FY performance to be comfortably ahead of consensus forecasts of GBP109.5m revenue and GBP22.1m EBITDA following strong H2 trading.

Solo (SOLO), down 1.64% to 0.3p, has now executed a Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) for the acquisition of a 3.825% interest in Kiliwani North Development Licence for a total cash consideration of USD2.16m.

Wood Group (WG.), down 1.31% to 600.5p, has been awarded a two-year contract extending its service provision for TAQA in the North Sea. Ryanair (RYA), up 2.04% to 14.48p, said its March traffic rose 28% to 8.5m customers, with load factor up 4% to 94%. Its rolling annual traffic to March rose 18% to 106.4m customers.

Other stocks in the news included Tiziana Life Sciences (TILS), Empiric Student Property (ESP), Westminster (WSG), Xchanging (XCH), Schlumberger (SCL), Chapel Down (CDGP), Bushveld (BMN), Polymetal (POLY), Mondi (MNDI), LiDCO (LID), Fulham Shore (FUL), Alpha Returns (ARGP), ITE (ITE), Obtala (OBT), San Leon Energy (SLE), Sirius Real Estate (SRE), Castleton (CTP), Xeros (XSG) and Redx Pharma (REDX).



Story provided by StockMarketWire.com