- London shares are modestly ahead as investors anticipate European Central Bank's interest-rate and QE calls soon before 1pm today. Micro Focus International (MCRO) is flying ahead on deal news.

Micro Focus International (MCRO) is to acquire Hewlett Packard Enterprise's software business segment in a merger with a transaction value of $8.8bn. Its shares rose 15.75% to 2263p. Dixons Carphone (DC.) added 4.13% to 389.65p after a robust Q1 update.

To midday, FTSE 100 was up 34.66 points, or 0.51%, to 6881.24, while FTSE 250 was ahead 93.15, or 0.52% to 18,153.4, testing levels last seen in May 2015. At 11.43am, WTI crude was up 1.85% to $46.34/bbl, while Brent was up 1.56% to $48.73/bbl. Gold was up 0.27% to $1352.9/oz.

Airline stocks International Consolidated Airlines (IAG), up 3.98% to 422.15p, and EasyJet (EZJ), ahead 3.16% to 1190.5p, benefited from Deutsche Bank notes. Also up were several miners as gold tiptoed ahead. Anglo American (AAL), up 2.65% to 862.5p, led several sector pals.

House builders were on firm foundations after Berkeley Group (BKG), scaffolding up 1.7% to 2744p, with Barratt Developments (BDEV), ahead 1.64% to 500.25p, behind. More trailed. Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) added 1.19% to 199.35p on pricing $2.65bn of notes.

Roughly 70 blue chips gained, among their number utilities, oil majors, insurers, financials and investment specialists. Leisure and high-street retail was on the up, too.

Stocks ex-div today included Admiral (ADM), Centamin (CEY), Antofagasta (ANTO), Greggs (GRG), Land Securities (LAND), Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) and RSA Insurance (RSA), among many others. Pearson (PSON) was a big blue-chip faller, shedding 4.26% to 826.75p.

National Grid (NG.), up 0.07% to 1067.75p, and the New York Public Service Commission have filed a Joint Proposal for a three-year rate plan settlement for the KeySpan Energy Delivery New York (KEDNY) and KeySpan Energy Delivery Long Island (KEDLI) gas distribution utilities.


Tower Resources (TRP), down 45.45% to 3p, intends to raise gross proceeds of about £1.03m via a non-brokered subscription for about 45.9m new shares at a placing price of 2.25p per share. It also planned an open offer for UK shareholders to raise £0.56m at 2.25p each.

Strat Aero (AERO), up 41.18% to 0.6p, said subsidiary Geocurve has been won a further contract to provide aerial inspection and level survey services for the Environment Agency's Thames Estuary Asset Management 2100 programme.

Airea (AIEA) rose 27.91% to 27.5p after posted an 86% hike in FY operating profit to £2.0m, with proposed final dividend up 67% to 1.5p a share.

Medaphor Group (MED) fell 27.06% to 31p as it said the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology had served notice to terminate its contract. It separately announced the launch of ScanExaminer, a new ultrasound skills examination simulator.

Argo (ARGO), up 22.22% to 12.38p, said its H1 revenues rose to $4.0m, up from $3.1m a year ago. It made a pretax profit of $4.9m, compared with a loss of $4.2m.

Marlowe (MRL), up 13.43% to 190p, has acquired H2O Chemicals Ltd for a total enterprise value of £2.8m. It also announced a placing and subscription with certain institutional investors and Marlowe's existing shareholders to raise approximately £10m.

Fenner (FENR), up 6.24% to 187.25p, expects its full-year results to be at the top end of forecasts. Trading was as expected during the last two months of its financial year ended 31 August.

Cyprotex (CRX), up 5.9% to 152.5p, has launched eight additional drug transporter assays. Drug transporters are present in multiple cells and tissues within the body. The American Carbon Registry (HYR), up 3.7% to 3.5p, has approved Hydrodec's patented technology as a carbon offset project in the voluntary carbon offset market.

Other stocks in the news included Monitise (MONI), Charles Stanley (CAY), LiDCO (LID), Sirius Real Estate (SRE), Avation (AVAP), MXC Capital (MXCP), Motif Bio (MTFB), Amiad Water (AFS), Fyffes (FFY), Genus (GNS), Zoopla (ZPLA), Ergomed (ERGO), Victoria Oil & Gas (VOG) and Deltex Medical (DEMG).

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