- London shares are mixed in early deals and amid a flurry of ex-dividend stocks, with blue chips gaining as traders liked a raft of corporate news after the US Federal reserve left rates unmoved last night.

Traders were looking to the UK services PMI reading out mid morning, while the world was watching with interest after The Queen called an emergency meeting at Buckingham Palace. The purpose of the meeting was as yet unknown, but social media was awash with unfounded speculation.

Not long after the open, the FTSE 100 was up 42.11, or 0.58%, to 7276.64, while the FTSE 250 was down 13.08, or 0.07%, to 19,670.3. Key European stocks indices were higher. Sterling was mildly lower, and safe-haven gold was more than 1% down.

Financial stocks such as banks, insurers and investment specialists were broadly on the rise, while commercial and residential property were notably lower.

Shares in Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) barged 2.84% higher to 2075.25p as the oil major boosted its Q1 2017 CCS earnings attributable to shareholders to $3.38bn, which was up 315% from the $814m recorded in the same period a year ago. BP (BP.) shares rose 0.81% to 450.25p.

HSBC (HSBA), up 3.18% to 665.76p, said its Q1 adjusted pretax profits rose to $5,937m, up 12% on last time. Reported pretax profits of $4,961m were down 19% on a year ago. RSA Insurance (RSA), up 2.11% to 616.75p, said its Q1 2017 net written premiums rose 14% to £1.71bn, with operating profit for the period ahead of the company's plans.

Morrisons (MRW), up 1.3% to 242.1p, said that for the 13 weeks to April 30 its group like-for-like (LFL) sales excluding fuel were up 3.4%. Its expectations and guidance for 2017/18 were unchanged.

Randgold Resources (RRS), up 1.97% to 6740p made a strong start in Q1 2017, setting the group on track to achieve its guidance for year. Q1 gold production was up 10% on the year at 322 470 ounces, with profit up 33% to $84.9m and total cash costs down 4% to $619/oz.

To the downside, Next (NXT), off 5.88% to 4150.5p, said its Q1 full-price sales fell 3.0%, adding the UK consumer environment was challenging. It now saw FY pretax profit as coming in at £680m-£740m, from a prior expectation for £680m-£780m.


Anglo American (AAL), down 2.7% to 1016.25p, has agreed to sell its 88.17% interest in the Drayton thermal coal mine and Drayton South project in New South Wales to Malabar Coal. It ceased mining activities there in 2016.

Ladbrokes Coral (LCL) fell 3.27% to 124.2p as said it had traded in-line with expectations in the period from 1 January to 21 April despite mixed sports results.

Rolls-Royce (RR.), down 1.24% to 814.25p, said, at this early stage in 2017, it saw no reason to change its expectations for profit and importantly cash flow for the year as a whole.

Glencore (GLEN), down 0.1% to 286.5p, said its Q1 production was hit by some severe weather, including Cyclone Debbie in Australia, flooding in Peru and higher than average rainfall in the DRC and Hunter Valley.

Some stocks going ex-dividend today included Card Factory, Croda, Empresaria, Hames Halstead, Kingfisher, Lookers, London Stock Exchange, Microgen, Rightmove and Unilever.


Torotrak (TRK) fell 26.83% to 0.75p. It believed its net assets would fall below half of the value of the called-up share capital. It was, as required under law, calling a general meeting. Directors did not consider any steps were required beyond those already in hand.

Concha (CHA) rose 17.24% to 0.17p after it said it would continue to investigate the actions of those responsible for the demise of Ve and any opportunity to participate in the assets and business going forward. However, it said there were no guarantees of any such involvement.


Blancco Technology (BLTG), up 7.99% to 182.5p, has raised £9.8m, gross, via a placing of 5.8m new shares at 169p each.

TP Group (TPG), up 5.56% to 7.13p, confirmed TPG Maritime received the first call-off from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), worth £9.7m, under the framework contract for Combined Oxygen Generating Systems.

Gem Diamonds (GEMD), up 4.92% to 88.13p, has recovered a high-quality 80 carat, D colour Type II diamond from the Letseng mine in Lesotho.

Morses Club (MCL), up 2.52% to 137.38p, has received full FCA authorisation following a period of operating under interim permission.

G4S (GFS), up 2.46% to 322.25p, has made a strong start to its financial year as it maintained momentum from the end of 2016.

Harworth (HWG), up 1.94% to 105p, has entered into a JV with Lancashire County Pension Fund to develop the next phase of the group's Logistics North site, the largest live commercial development in the North West of England.

Other stocks in the news included Purplebricks (PURP), esure (ESUR), Johnson Service Group (JSG), Stadium Group (SDM), Sanderson Group (SND).

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