StockMarketWire.com - London equities turned volte face to be up midday as Bank of England held its key interest rate at 0.5% and QE programme at GBP375bn, both calls widely anticipated. The FTSE's reversal higher was mirrored in Europe, while crude prices nudged north and gold ebbed slightly.

Blue-chip risers were guided by Compass (CPG), ahead 2.32% to 1280p, and Mondi (MNDI), up 1.96% to 1375.5p on stating its outlook remained positive and that it was confident of delivering a performance in line with its expectations.

Interest-rate sensitive utilities muscled higher after SSE (SSE), rising 1.42% to 1535.5p, and Severn Trent (SVT), ahead 1.26% to 2258p. Among oil gorillas, Shell (RDSA) advanced 1.73% to 1764.5p, while BP (BP.) appreciated 1.54% to 366.78p.

To midday, FTSE 100 was up 15.96 points, or 0.26%, to 6178.45 and FTSE 250 added 37.66, or 0.23%, to 16,758.4, both off earlier multi-week lows. At 11.41am, WTI crude was at USD46.64/bbl and Brent was at USD47.99/bbl. Safe-haven gold had slipped to USD1269/oz.

House builders put in a hearty showing following Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' (RICS) data. Taylor Wimpey (TW.) rose 1.2% to 181.75p, and Wolseley (WOS) rose 0.93% to 3949.5p. Commercial property was mostly off. Land Securities (LAND) fell 1% to 1139.5p.

Risers now outnumbered fallers 67 to 33, with 16 up by 1% or more. Telecos figured, as did a palette of other sectors. BT Group (BT.A) rose 1.39% to 442.98p and Vodafone (VOD) nipped 1.35% higher to 225.3p. Consumer goods and leisure also sortied north.

To the downside the story was essentially big-ticket miners in the wake of Anglo American (AAL), lower 2.99% to 598.85p, and Antofagasta (ANTO), down 1.95% to 417.4p. Supermarkets and high-street retail were mixed. Sainsbury (SBRY) fell 2.38% to 256.75p and M&S (MKS) rose 0.81% to 421.4p.

In the news, ITV (ITV) slumped 1.25% to 212.6p as it warned Brexit fears were impacting the TV ad market. AstraZeneca (AZN), up 0.31% to 3944.75p, said the US FDA has granted orphan drug designation for its investigational MEK 1/2 inhibitor, selumetinib (AZD6244, ARRY-142886). Finally, Sports Direct (SPD), down 0.24% to 375.3p, extended the maturity period for its put option to acquire 10.5% of Debenhams' (DEB) shares by one year.

BIGGER MOVERS

ZincOx (ZOX), up 20% to 0.75p, has reduced its FY pretax loss to USD9.98m, from a loss of USD18.35m in what it described as a challenging and frustrating year. The result included USD2.4m of impairment provisions, versus USD13.9m in the comparative period.

Westminster (WSG), down 19.48% to 7.75p, has noted ongoing delays in the start of its West African ferry project, and in other larger projects, and said it will need to put additional financing in the near term. It is mulling a capital reconstruction.

GTS Chemical (GTS), up 19.23% to 62p, has received a certificate of registration from the American Petroleum Institute for conformance with the API Specification Q1.

ECONOMIC NEWS

At midday, Bank of England's nine-member Monetary Policy Committee unanimously to hold the benchmark rate and QE.

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said its UK house-price balance for April fell to 41%, which was ahead of the 38% expected by the market and from a reading of 42% in March.

On the continent, Eurozone industrial production fell 0.8% in March, which compared with a revised decline of 1.2% for February. The market had expected output to rise 0.1%.

Germany's wholesale price index rose 0.3% on the month in April, beating forecasts for a 0.2% surge. Meantime, France's final consumer price index (CPI) for April, a measure of inflation, came in at +0.1%, in keeping with market forecasts. The flash reading was +0.1%.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Eurasia (EUA), down 16.67% to 0.63p, has raised GBP0.5m in a placing of 90.9m shares at 0.55p each. Proceeds would go to the Sanderson Capital Partners loan, working capital and completing the work programme at Monchetundra and the test work on the Semenovsky Tailings Project.

SuperGroup (SGP), up 12.82% to 1421.5p, said its FY revenues have risen 21.1% to GBP589.5m, with total retail sales up 24.5% to GBP416.1m and like-for-like sales growth at 11.3%, from 4.8%. Profit for the 52-week period is expected to be GBP72.5m-GBP74.0m.

Titon (TON), down 11.76% to 97.5p, has posted an H1 pretax profit of GBP0.74m, from a year-earlier profit of GBP0.79m, with revenues improving to GBP10.85m, from GBP10.7m. Interim dividend was flat at 1.25p a share.

CLS (CLI), up 8.13% to 1703p has begun a share buy-back programme to enhance its net asset value per share. CLS does not believe the current share price, at a significant discount to last-reported NAV/share, reflects the value of its portfolio and development pipeline.

Akers Biosciences (AKR), up 8% to 135p, said its pretax loss was USD1.5m, from a loss of USD1.3m, the rise mostly due to non-recurring costs and costs associated with the re-organisation of the sales and marketing staff and programmes.

Rank Group (RNK), up 4.19% to 247.35p, is encouraged that all its brands have continued to make like-for-like progress. It expected FY performance to be in line with management's expectations. In the 19 weeks to May 8, total LFL revenue was up 3%, with total revenue up 2%.

Savannah Resources (SAV), down 3.79% to 3.18p, has begun the next round of drilling over its Block 4 and 5 properties in the Sultanate of Oman, which are prospective for copper and gold.

TalkTalk Telecom (TALK), rose 0.83% to 273.35p as its FY pretax profit more than halved to GBP14m, from GBP32m, in the wake of last October's damaging cyber attack. This included GBP83m of exceptional items, from GBP46m.

Other stocks in the news included Alecto Minerals (ALO), Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), Tullett Prebon (TLPR), Galliford Try (GFRD), Vesuvius (VSVS), FirstGroup (FGP), WH Ireland (WHI), IP (IPO), Wilmington (WIL), Global Invacom (GINV), Stagecoach (SGC), Circle Property (CRC), Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK), Arricano Real Estate (ARO), Deltex Medical (DEMG) and Hansard Global (HSD).

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