- London equities are mixed in early deals on the day that PM Theresa May formally kick-starts UK's exit negotiations with the EU, with a light pall of apprehension hanging over the market.

Not long after the open, the FTSE 100 was up 19.53 points, or 0.27%, to 7362.95, with the FTSE 250 down 19.48, or 0.1%, to 18,933.9. At 8.40am, WTI and Brent crude prices were firming, while gold, silver and copper eased. A minor fall in sterling helped the FTSE 100 higher.

Wall St put in a positive performance overnight, while in Europe this morning investors traded Germany's Dax and France's Cac 40 moderately higher.

Miners were rising again, buyers likely still seeing value in the shares after their recent sell-off, with BHP Billiton (BLT) up 2.14% to 1253.25p, and Antofagasta (ANTO) up 1.44% to 810p. Among oilies, BP (BP.) rose 0.53% to 455.85p and Shell (RDSA) added 0.8% to 2128.25p.

Otherwise financials were thick on the ground among blue-chip winners. Banks such as RBS (RBS), up 1.01% to 244.65p, and HSBC (HSBA), up 0.49% to 658.5p, were notable, with several insurers also making gains. Others financials, including banks and insurers, eased, though.

Commercial property was also notable among the roughly 57 blue chips gaining, but house builders were mixed. Barratt Developments (BDEV) fell 1.05% to 540.25p, but Persimmon (PSN) added 0.05% to 2098p.

Gold-sensitive miners Randgold (RRS), down 2.2% to 7012.5p, and Fresnillo (FRES), down 0.74% to 1550.5p, were also softer. Several supermarkets, utilities and airlines also eased.

TUI AG (TUI), down 1.28% to 1120.5p, has reiterated its guidance of at least 10% growth in group underlying EBITA for 2016/17. It said total revenue and customer numbers were up across its source markets, although there was a slight dip specifically in the Nordics.


Sabien Technologies (SNT) fell 45.83% to 1.62p after it raised £475,000 at 1p a share to continue its growth strategy and scaling of M2G pilots. The company also posted an H1 pretax loss of £826,000, from a loss of £983,000.

China New Energy Ltd (CNEL) was up 27.66% to 1.5p after it said it had won a number of contracts with Supercare Group Ltd of Ghana and CNBM General Machinery Co Ltd in China to construct a new ethanol plant in Ghana.

Circle Holdings (CIRC) rose 22.42% to 29.38p after a 30p a share cash offer by DMWSL 849 Ltd was recommended. The offer valued Circle's share capital, including those held by Tosca Investors, at about £75.2m. Circle also reduced its FY EBITDA loss to £3.1m.


DX Group (DX.) firmed 18.11% to 10.63p after the company said it had won a major contract worth more than £10m a year to provide bespoke logistic services for Avon UK, the beauty company.

Port Erin Biopharma (PEBI) gained 17.39% to 6.75p after swinging to an H1 pretax profit of £429,311, from a year-ago loss of £184,674. The company said its share price remained at a significant and disappointing discount to the underlying assets base.

Johnston Press (JPR), down 14.77% to 18.75p, posted a statutory pre-tax loss of £300.3m for the year compared with a profit of £2.2m. "Following an impairment at the half year of the carrying value of acquired publishing titles, the downturn in quarter 3 and continued revenue pressures, have resulted in a further impairment of £120.4m in H2."

Centaur Media (CAU), down 17.62% to 38p, has delivered full-year results in line with expectations despite continuing headwinds in the advertising market. Adjusted operating profits were £9.1m, from £10.5m.

Petards (PEG), up 11.4% to 31.75p, has been awarded a contract to supply Stadler Bussnang AG with its eyeTrain CCTV and Automatic Selective Door Opening (ASDO) systems. The new contract was worth £4.3m.

Other stocks in the news included Transense Technologies (TRT), GAME Digital (GMD), Ironveld (IRON), Armadale Capital (ACP), Stagecoach (SGC), Workspace (WKP), James Halstead (JHD), Midwich (MIDW) and Sanne (SNN).

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