- London equities were drifting roughly sideways Friday morning in the wake of a busy week studded with bursts of volatility related to UK and US central bank interest-rate decisions, Brexit and Netherlands' election.

Not all that long after the open, FTSE 100 was up 3.38 points, or 0.05%, to 7419.33, while FTSE 250 was down 5.59, or 0.03%, to 19,021.4. At 8.32am, crude prices were mixed albeit barely moved, with the same true of gold and silver, although copper was modestly lower.

This after a more hawkish-than-expected Bank of England held its key interest rate unmoved on Thursday, with the US Federal Reserve lifting its key rate on Wednesday. PM Theresa May's Brexit Bill has Royal Assent, with Article 50 expected to be triggered by the end of March.

Overall, the number of blue-chip risers and fallers were roughly evenly split, with the vast majority on movers doing so by less than 0.5%.

Insurers Admiral (ADM), up 1.39% to 1934.5p, and Prudential (PRU), up 1.27% to 1775.75p, were leading, with more in the sector trailing. Banks were mostly enjoying minor gains, with Barclays (BARC) leading and up 0.65% to 230.93p.

Oil majors were mixed with Shell (RDSA) adding 0.32% to 2124.25p, and BP (BP.) falling 0.25% to 458.1p. Miners were modestly lower after Thursday's bull run higher, likely as profiteers trousered their gains. Randgold (RRS) fell 1.23% to 7012.5p and Fresnillo lost 1.19% to 1492p.

Several commercial property and utility equities slipped, as did some pharmas. AstraZeneca (AZN), down 0.57% to 4838.25p, said the US FDA had issued it a complete response letter about the new drug application ZS-9 for the treatment of hyperkalaemia.


Panmure Gordon (PMR), up 70.59% to 101.5p, has recommended the premium 100p-a-share cash offer made by Ellsworthy Ltd, valuing the stockbroker at about £15.5m. The deal was conditional on several factors, among them that it achieved 75% scheme shareholders approval.

Ortac Resources (OTC), up 51.67% to 0.05p, reported that Slovakia subsidiary ORTAC s.r.o, which was the developer of the Dturec Gold Project, has been re-issued with an underground mining permit by the District Mining Bureau in Banska Bystrica.

Circassia Pharmaceuticals (CIR), up 25.94% to 109.88p, has agreed to collaborate with AstraZeneca to secure certain US commercial rights to two COPD products, Tudorza and Duaklir, for a maximum total of $230m, plus certain future sales-based royalties.


Tullow Oil (TLW), down 14.58% to 202.7p, proposed a 25-for-49 fully underwritten rights issue to raise about £607m at a discounted 130p a share, as it moves to reduce debt. Separately, it has agreed to a Uganda farm-down that would mean it ceased to be an operator there.

Ilika (IKA), down 15.72% to 40.88p, expected to start 2017-18 with a record level of revenue commitments amounting to about £1.8m. Horizonte Minerals (HZM), up 1.64% to 3.1p, said its FY pretax losses rose to £1.7m, up from a restated £1.5m in 2015.

Berkeley Group (BKG), up 6.53% to 3156.5p, said its FY pretax profit was expected to be at the top end of analysts' expectations, with the actual outturn dependent upon completion timing on Berkeley's larger developments. A similar level of profitability was seen in FY 2018.

Cerillion (CER), up 3.46% to 149.5p, has won a major new contract with an initial value of €2.4m with a wholesale telecoms operator in Europe.

Rose Petroleum (ROSE), up 3.85% to 0.14p, said it had made significant progress in the recovery of substantial IVA (value added tax) owed to the Group from the Mexican tax authorities. It had received MX$1.37m so far, with MX$4.2m more expected by end-March.

Amec Foster Wheeler (AMFW), down 1.02% to 507.75p, has won a five-year contract with the US Air Force Civil Engineer Center to sustain and improve air force and other US Department of Defense installations worldwide. The contract had a value of $950m for the multiple awardees.

Other stocks in the news included Equatorial Palm Oil (PAL), Private & Commercial Finance (PCF), United Group (UTG), Totally (TLY), Chemring (CHG) and CPPGroup (CPP).

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