StockMarketWire.com - London equities were mixed with blue chips led up by resources and supermarkets. Mid caps eased. Ex-dividend stocks dragged. Traders are looking to UK's second-estimate GDP mid morning, and a slew of US data as markets increasingly expect a US rates rise in June.

Anglo American (AAL) guided miners with a 3.55% surge to 642.2p, while Glencore (GLEN) added 3.4% to 137.93p and BHP Billiton (BLT) rose 3.38% to 865.5p. More followed, as did oilies after Shell (RDSA), ahead 1.14% to 1704.25p, and BP (BP.), gaining 0.83% to 369.05p.

Supermarkets firmed behind Sainsbury (SBRY), up 1.52% to 266.9p, and Tesco (TSCO), up 1.13% to 168.88p. Also up were multiple commercial and, to a lesser extent, residential property stocks. Land Securities (LAND) rose 0.3% to 1183.5p. Berkeley (BKG) rose 0.32% to 3335.5p.

Soon after the open, FTSE 100 was ahead 3.89 points, or 0.06%, to 6266.74. FTSE 250 was down 22.16 points, or 0.13%, to 17,210.5. At 8.51am, WTI crude was USD49.82/bbl and Brent was at USD50.05/bbl. Gold was up at USD1230/oz, but well off recent levels.

Europe was mostly ahead. Wall Street gained overnight, but Asia was mixed. Markets are scrutinising US economic data as traders speculate on when the US Federal Reserve will lift rates, with today's jobless and goods data in focus. Greece's debt and volatility in both commodity and forex markets are also factors.

Blue-chip risers outnumbered fallers 55 to 45. Carnival (CCL) led the losers' ladder with a slide of 1.95% to 3421p, followed by Standard Chartered (STAN), down 1.77% to 544.8p. Behind it were several other banks and leisure stocks, along with several house builders and airlines.

US rates-sensitive utilities were tapering. United Utilities (UU.), down 1.09% to 954.5p, has lifted its FY pretax profit to GBP353.5m, from GBP341.6m, on higher revenue. It issued an upbeat outlook, targeting dividend growth of at least RPI inflation through to 2020. Total dividend was 38.45p, from 37.7p.

OTHER HIGH-PROFILE STOCKS

Balfour Beatty (BBY), up 0.08% to 245.4p, has been won a contract with Highways England for the construction of a proposed lorry area near the M20. The contract is valued at up to GBP130m.

Anheuser-Busch InBev has received exchange control approval from the South African Reserve Bank for the proposed combination with SABMiller (SAB), whose shares fell 0.12% to 4261p.

Legal & General (LGEN), down 0.15% to 239.15p, chairman John Stewart is retiring from June 1. A successor has yet to be appointed, which was expected to happen in coming weeks.

BIGGER MOVERS

Westminster Group (WSG) rose 104.55% to 11.25p on receiving a Letter of Intent from a Middle East Airport Authority relating to a long term airport security contract. It separately added that it remains in talks with several financing partners.

StratMin Global Resources (STGR), up 30.77% to 2.13p, said Bass Metals is proceeding with its offer to acquire the 93.75% of Graphmada Mauritius that it does not already own. Proposed consideration was up to a "compelling" AUD15.25m, valuing the business at AUD16.267m.

Marshall Motor Holdings (MMH), up 28.71% to 195p, has announced the strategic and value-enhancing acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Ridgeway Garages (Newbury) Ltd for GBP106.9m cash.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Hostelworld (HSW), down 25.8% to 190.88p, made good progress in Q1, but warned recent geo-political events, particularly in Europe, had seen Q2 trading below its views. It said this year's outturn was dependent on recovery in key European destinations in the summer, and that it was mindful of the exchange-rate environment.

Prospex Oil & Gas (PXOG), down 20% to 1.1p, has raised about GBP1.64m at 1p a share. Proceeds would support the 2016 activities of Hutton Poland, repaying the loan from Hutton Energy Ltd and working capital. It separately said the unrisked prospective resources for the Boleslaw prospect, in the Kolo Licence, which is held by Hutton Poland, is estimated at 87.1 Bscf.

Tertiary Minerals (TYM), down 14.55% to 1.18p, has raised GBP0.5m at 1p a share and planned to use most of the procees for the ongoing evaluation and development of its key fluorspar projects. It separately posted an H1 pretax loss of GBP0.3m.

Strategic Minerals (SML), up 9.84% to 0.34p, is to acquire an up to 50% stake in NAE Resources (UK) Ltd, known as Redmoor, a subsidiary of ASX-listed New Age Exploration Ltd. Redmoor holds an exploration licence and option over 23 sq km in the Cornish tin-tungsten-copper mining district.

LightwaveRF (LWRF), down 11.11% to 13p, has swung to an H1 pretax loss of GBP384,000, from a profit of GBP118,000. Tate & Lyle (TATE), up 2% to 626.25p, has materially hiked its FY pretax profit to GBP126m, from GBP25m, on sales of GBP2.36bn, from GBP2.34bn. Dividend was 28p a share, flat on the year. It described the numbers as a solid financial performance.

Henry Boot (BHY), up 2.5% to 199.88p, said its performance since the start of the year has been been encouraging with all three business segments trading well. It was confident that trading would meet directors' FY expectations.

Clipper Logistics (CLG), up 4.24% to 292.38p, said its trading for the year to April 30 is expected to be in line with directors' views, with continued growth in revenue, operating profit and net earnings.

Other stocks in the news included Sunrise (SRES), Coms (COMS), Mercia (MERC), LondonMetric Property (LMP), Inchcape (INCH), Northbridge Industrial (NBI), Secure Property Development and Investment (SPDI), QinetiQ (QQ.), Rare Earth Minerals (REM), Debenhams (DEB), Lombard Risk Management (LRM), Regency Mines (RGM), Stobart (STOB), Xtract (XTR) and Darty (DRTY).




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