StockMarketWire.com - London stocks crept into positive territory and broke fresh ground for a second consecutive session, with the blue-chip ladder striking another all-time high thanks to gilded gains by gold-sensitive metals diggers..

At the close, FTSE 100 was up 14.18 points, or 0.2%, to 7120.26, while FTSE 250 was up 2.61, or 0.01%, to 18,015.40, a multi-month high.

At 4.36pm, WTI crude was down 0.06% to $54.03/bbl and Brent was up 0.32% to $56.40/bbl. gold shone 1.23% higher to $1155.1/oz, with silver up 0.98% to $16.20/oz and copper falling 0.34% to 249.20 cents a pound.

Gold-touchy miners Randgold (RRS), up 4.82% to 6415p, Fresnillo (FRES), up 4.62% to 1224p, led the list of the top-100 index's risers as the price of gold soared. Also ahead were multiple utilities, United (UU.) piloting them and up 1.51% to 907.5p.

Insurance-related blue chips also did well behind Old Mutual (OML), rising 1.41% to 204.75p, and Legal & General (LGEN), ahead 1.06% to 248.7p. Commercial property was on the front foot in the wake of Land Securities (LAND), up 0.96% to 1049p.

Among the improvers were oil majors, multiple pharmas and several leisure stocks. FTSE 100 gainers outnumbered fallers 64 to 36. To the downside, Ashtead (AHT) guided with a fall of 2.3% to 15762p, while Smiths Group (SMIN) faltered 1.6% to 1412p.

Besides Fresnillo and Randgold, other big-ticket miners retreated in the wake of Antofagasta (ANTO), down 1.31% to 676.5p, and BHP Billiton (BLT), lower 0.84% to 1300.5p. Banks were in southbound focus behind Lloyds (LLOY), lower 1.21% to 62.78p.

BIGGER MOVERS

Alpha Pyrenees Trust (ALPH), up 33.33% to 0.1p, said it has sold a vacant warehouse located in Zaragoza, Spain, for €370,000. The property is approximately 2,590 square metres and is located on an established industrial estate.

Nektan (NKTN) fell 20% to 26p as its confirmed a successful subscription to raise £2.275m and a proposed offer to raise an additional £500,000. It also posted a FY operating loss of £8.3m, compared with £7.2m last time.

MySQUAR (MYSQ) rose 15.69% to 1.88p as it announced the new game ChakraNinja has been fully launched and the VoIP application CallHome was soft-launched in the last week of December.

IGas Energy (IGAS), down 7.53% to 10.75p, said it has recently met with certain of its bondholders and potential strategic investors to discuss its capital restructuring options and valuation of the company.

ECONOMIC NEWS

Stateside, commercial crude oil inventories rose 0.6m barrels in the week ended Dec. 23 to 486.1m barrel, the US Energy Information Administration said. US working gas in storage fell to 3360 bn cu ft in the week to Dec. 23, the US Energy Information Administration estimated.

Meantime, the US international trade deficit was $65.3bn in November, up $3.4bn from $61.9bn in October, US Census Bureau said. In other US news, US initial jobless claims fell to 265,000 in the week ended Dec. 24, down 10,000 from the previous week's unrevised level, the US Department of Labor said.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Circle Oil (CIRC), down 2.6% to 18.75p, said its financial position remains under significant pressure and it expects its listing on AIM to be cancelled on Dec. 30.

Petra Diamonds Ltd (PDL), up 2.48% to 158.85p, has published a full report on its payments to governments for the year ended 30 June 2016.

Vipera (VIP), down 2.27% to 5.38p, announces a reorganisation of its customer delivery organisation. This includes a restructuring of its 51%-owned subsidiary, Codd & Date srl, which will result in Vipera significantly increasing its holding in Codd & Date.

Trinity Capital (TRC), down 2.22% to 1.1p, has posted an H1 pretax profit of £4.7m, from a year-ago loss of £1.3m. It noted significant progress in implementing the company's investment policy during the current financial year.

Ophir (OPHR), up 2.14% to 95.25p, and its joint venture partners, BG Tanzania (Shell) and Pavilion Energy, have concluded the drilling of two exploration wells offshore Tanzania, safely and on time.

Indus Gas (INDI), up 1.9% to 315.88p, has posted an H1 pretax profit of $22.6m, up from $14.3m last time. Revenues rose to $27.4m from $22.6m and operating profits of $22.3m were uo from $16.8m a year ago.

Premier Oil (PMO), up 0.88% to 72.63p, has received a monthly deferral in respect of the test of its financial covenants with the test for the 12 month period ending 31 December 2016 waived and replaced by a test for the 12 month period ending 31 January 2017.

Other stocks in the news included Frontera Resources (FRR), Hummingbird (HUM), BMR Group (BMR), Globaltrans Investment (GLTR), Windar Photonics (WPHO) and Concha (CHA).


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