- London equities were mixed in early deals -- blue chips up a jot and mid caps down an ace -- as gains among top-100 resources, utilities and financials were largely offset by again-falling house builders.

BHP Billiton (BLT), up 1.78% to 914.45p, led the risers, with fellow miner Glencore (GLEN) adding 0.62% to 158.98p. Rio Tinto (RIO), up 0.18% to 2246.5p, and Sinosteel have extended their Channar Mining Joint Venture in Australia's Pilbara region.

Soon after the open, FTSE 100 extended its 2016 gains as it rose 2.07 points, or 0.03%, to 6367.17. FTSE 250 ebbed 32.05, or 0.19%, to 16,969.3. At 8.30am, WTI crude was at USD41.64/bbl and Brent was at USD43.93/bbl. Gold was at USD1231/oz.

Europe was lower, after Wall St was barely moved overnight and Asia was a whisker lower. Traders are looking to a raft of US data out this afternoon.

Supermarkets were guided north by Tesco (TSCO), up 1.58% to 180.45p, while several banks traced Standard Chartered (STAN), up 0.9% to 521.25p. RBS (RBS), Lloyds (LLOY) and Barclays (BARC) followed. Utilities gained after Centrica (CNA), up 0.87% to 238.35p. Also rising were beverages, consumer goods and oil. BP (BP.) added 0.48% to 360.28p as crude continued to edge northwards.

Just 33 blue chips made progress, and then mostly limited. To the downside, house builders were again under the cosh as a pall gathered over the sector's outlook. Berkeley (BKG), down 2.87% to 2890.5p, and Barratt (BDEV), off 1.68% to 513.25p, suffered.

High-street retail, some supermarkets, leisure and commercial property were also on the back foot.


Circle Oil (COP), up 17.65% to 2.5p, said International Finance is to extend the suspension of the December 2015 redetermination and repayments due under the reserve-based lending facility to May 13.

Vela (VELA), up 11.43% to 0.2p, has completed its investment of GBP151,343 in Portr Ltd, owner of the on-demand airport luggage transfer service, AirPortr.

Keras Resources (KRS), up 10.42% to 1.33p, has raised GBP1.25m gross via a placing of 113.6m new shares at 1.1p each to new and existing shareholders.


Victoria Plc (VCP), down 7.56% to 1467.5p, advises that talks with the shareholders of Lano Carpets regarding the potential acquisition of the business have ceased.

Man Group (EMG), up 4.06% to 157.65p, said funds under management fell to USD78.6bn at end-March, from USD78.7bn at end-December.

Acal (ACL), up 3.73% to 254.13p, expects underlying earnings for the year to March 31 to be slightly ahead of its forecasts. It said trading had been better than expected since February.

Ultimate Sports Group (USG), up 2.06% to 24.75p, said its online coaching platform has made substantial progress since launch in November last year.

FairFX Group (FFX), up 1.49% to 34p, said its turnover rose 31.9% to GBP626.8m in the year to end-December. Revenue rose 35.7% to GBP7.4m. Its pretax loss of GBP3.4m was in line with forecasts.

Polymetal International (POLY), down 0.43% to 701p, said it produced 260 Koz of gold equivalent in Q1 2016, down 4% year on year. The company remains on track to deliver FY production and cost targets, however.

Other stocks in the news included Petroceltic International (PCI), GCP Student Living (DIGS), Patagonia Gold (PGD), LiteBulb (LBB) and Metal Tiger (MTR).

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