StockMarketWire.com - London equities were mildly lower in early deals, as expected, with a string of financial stocks providing southbound direction. This after the World Bank cut its global growth forecasts for 2016 to 2.4%, from 2.9% predicted in January.

Lending giant Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) guided blue chips with a fall of 1.22% to 226.9p, while insurer Prudential (PRU) ebbed 0.95% to 1309.5p. Following were Lloyds (LLOY), off 0.95% to 69.58p, and Legal & General (LGEN), lower 0.94% to 231.1p.

Several leisure-linked stocks also faded. Airline easyJet (EZJ) fell 0.95% down to 1506.6p, while Intercontinental Hotels (IHG) eased 0.77% to 2708p. TUI (TUI) shed 0.57% to 1039p. Drugs firms Glaxosmithkline (GSK), off 0.7% to 1452.5p, and Shire (SHP), off 0.6% to 4383.5p, eased.

Soon after the open, FTSE 100 was down 7.82 points, or 0.12%, to 6276.71, while FTSE 250 dropped 30.81, or 0.18%, to 17,164.6. At 8.28am, WTI crude was at $50.36/bbl and Brent was at $51.38/bbl, both holding above the key $50/bbl mark. Gold was ahead at $1253/oz.

Europe stocks indices were mostly lower, following on from a mixed Wall St and Asia. This after World Bank cited sluggish advanced-economies' growth, low commodity prices, weak global trade and diminishing capital flows.

The Brexit debate is set to continue again, continuing to cast a pall over sterling. Last night, UKIP leader Nigel Farage easily outclassed UK Prime Minister David Cameron on a Brexit debate televised. Polls on whether UK will stay in the EU post-23 June vary on the vote result.

Back on the ladders, blue-chip fallers outnumbered winners 62 to 38. Most moves were muted. Supermarkets tended higher behind Sainsbury's (SBRY), which rose 2.76% to 253.5p as its total Q1 retail sales rose 0.3%, excluding fuel, but were down 0.1% including fuel. It added that like-for-like retail sales fell 0.8%, excluding fuel, and dropped 1.0% including fuel.

Mining and oil heavyweights were firming, too. Anglo American (AAL) added 1.58% to 676p, while Shell (RDSA) appreciated 0.31% to 1761.5p. Also up were several utilities as markets continue to factor in the probability of a US rate hike this month.

BIGGER MOVERS

Croma Security Solutions Group (CSSG), down 19.32% to 35.5p, has warned its profits will be materially below forecasts due to correcting overstated results for 2015 and H1 this year.

Oilex (OEX), up 17.65% to 0.5p, said it has now reached agreement with Zeta Resources Ltd that ends the legal proceedings between the parties.

Horizonte Minerals (HZM), up 11.76% to 2.38p, has been granted a preliminary environmental licence for the mining and beneficiation plant to produce ferronickel for its Araguaia nickel project by the Brazilian Para State Environmental Agency.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

WH Smith (SMWH), down 1.09% to 1721p, said, looking ahead, it continues to focus on profitable growth, cash generation and investing in the business to position the company well for the future. It was confident in its outcome for the FY.

AO World (AO.), down 1.62% to 164.4p, said its total revenue FY increased by 25.7% to £599.2m, from £476.7m, as UK growth continued and the German business gained traction with customers.

Nighthawk Energy (HAWK), up 9.29% to 1p, said the pilot programme for the planned Arikaree water flood enhanced oil recovery project had been unconditionally approved by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

DX (Group) (DX.), up 8.12% to 18.38p, said H2 trading has been in line with management expectations, with customer renewals at the DX Exchange operations at anticipated levels. The company remained on track to meet management expectations for the financial year.

ReNeuron (RENE), up 7.41% to 3.63p, has updated on progress with the ongoing US Phase I/II dose escalation study of its human retinal progenitor cell (hRPC) therapy candidate in patients with advanced retinitis pigmentosa (RP).

88 Energy (88E), up 5.56% to 1.9p, has reported significant progress on all fronts at Project Icewine, onshore North Slope of Alaska. Grafenia (GRA), down 4.55% to 15.75p, said its FY turnover fell 2.3% to £10.77m, as it posted a pretax loss of £0.26m, from a profit of £0.53m.

Workspace (WKP), up 4.38% to 869p, has improved its FY pretax profit to £391.3m, from £360.0m, and hiked its total dividend to 15.05p a share, from 12.04p. It said it continued to build momentum.

Koovs (KOOV), down 4.66% to 46p, has confirmed a strategic investment of £3.0m gross from HT Media Ltd, through the issue of 12m new shares at 25p each. Tricorn (TCN), down 3.61% to 10p, has widened its FY pretax loss to £0.76m, from a year-ago loss of £36,000. Revenue slipped to £18.0m, from £21.2m.

Other stocks in the news included Strategic Minerals (SML), Sanderson (SND), Share (SHRE), boohoo.com (BOO), Real Estate Investors (RLE), Sirius Minerals (SXX), FairFX (FFX), Sweett (CSG), Ladbrokes (LAD), Kemin (KEM), Nord Gold NV (NORD) and Redhall (RHL).




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