- London stocks were well on the front foot after Bank of England's post-Brexit fiscal bazooka yesterday, in which it cut the benchmark interest rate to 0.25% among other measures. Miners, oilies and pharmas were up.

Soon after the open, FTSE 100 was up 39.86 points, or 0.59%, to 6780.02, a peak since June 2015. FTSE 250 was up 49.63, or 0.29%, to 17,293.9, its highest since late June. At 8.40am, WTI crude was at $41.80/bbl. Brent was at $44.06/bbl, both lower. Gold rose to $1370/oz.

BHP Billiton (BLT) rose 3.06% to 1013p, with Anglo American (AAL) ahead 2.86% to 869.2p and Rio Tinto (RIO) adding 2.6% to 2483.5p as it confirmed completion of the sale of its Mount Pleasant thermal coal assets to MACH Energy Australia Pty Ltd for $220.7m plus royalties.

Oil majors were guided by BP (BP.), up 1.3% to 421.75p, with Shell (RDSA) ahead 0.98% to 1913p. Among pharmas, Hikma (HIK) rose 3.87% to 2306p, while Smith & Nephew (SN.) oppped up 0.84% to 1262.5p.

Several banks were led up by HSBC (HSBA), up 1.4% to 524.55p. However, RBS (RBS) was leading the contrarian pack of lenders and down 3.8% to 184.7p after swinging to an H1 loss of £614m, from a profit of £332m, with net interest income at £4.33bn, from £4.42bn.

Overall, blue-chip risers outnumbered fallers 77 to 23, the latter notable for a congregation of commercial property behind Intu (INTU), down 0.25% to 305.35p. Returning to the upside, Bellway (BWY) added 3.92% to 2108.5p on reporting an outstanding FY trading performance.


Blue Prism (PRSM), up 16.78% to 174p, is confident it will outperform directors' current expectations for the full year. It has continued to enjoy strong pipeline progress, also noting renewals and new business momentum.

Grafenia (GRA), down 16.28% to 9p, has seen lower sales across all its business channels since the EU referendum.

Audioboom (BOOM), down 9.52% to 2.38p, improved its H1 revenues and said it was in talks with a Chinese fund for a strategic investment of up to $8m. It has also raised £2.55m via the issue of about 102.2m shares at 2.5p each to fund working capital and accelerate growth.


PHSC (PHSC), down 8.7% to 21p, has swung to a FY pretax loss of £337,723, from a profit of £503,328, with exceptional administrative expenses widening to £608,936, from £262,758, due to impaired goodwill.

Benchmark (BMK), up 7.69% to 63p, has raised about £30.7m gross via the issue of about 47.3m shares at 65p each.

Ibstock (IBST), up 7.14% to 152.25p, has reported continued H1 growth with revenues up 3.3% to £210.0m and adjusted EBITDA up 7.3% to £55.6m.

AFC Energy (AFC), down 6.02% to 19.5p, has signed a joint development agreement with the Italian company Industrie De Nora.

esure (ESUR), down 5.44% to 264.85p, said gross written premiums rose 16.3% to £320.4m in the six months to end-June, from £275.5m, but adverse weather claims hit its underlying pretax profits.

Sterling Energy (SEY), down 3.27% to 14.63p, subsidiary Sterling Cameroon Ltd has issued a notice of surrender in relation to the Ntem Concession, offshore Cameroon.

William Hill (WMH), down 0.49% to 311.75p, said trading is in line with its FY expectation as it booked a 28% surge in H1 pretax profit to £100.7m, from £78.7m, with dividend per share at 4.1p, unchanged on the year.

Gulf Marine Services (GMS), up 1.6% to 31.75p, has won a new 12-month contract for one of its mid-size class vessels.

Other stocks in the news included Leeds Building Society (LBS), Rame Energy (RAME), Vectura (VEC), Lucara Diamond (LUC), Porta Communications (PTCM), Quantum Pharma (QP.), Magnolia Petroleum (MAGP), Konami Holdings (KNM) and eServGlobal (ESG).

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