- The FTSE shrugged off the softness seen in key European stocks indices this morning to rise ahead of a raft of UK inflation data published mid morning, with consumer goods, tobacco, house building and oil majors helping the blue-chip ladder higher.

A short while after the open, the FTSE 100 was up 14.66 points, or 0.2%, to 7469.03, while the FTSE 250 was up 38.65, or 0.2%, to 19,789.7.

Gold and silver prices were up, but copper was down. WTI and Brent crude were making mild gains on hopes of extended Opec output curbs. Sterling was up on the USD, but down on the EUR.

Vodafone (VOD), up 3.84% to 219.2p, has dialled in a FY loss of €6.08bn, from a restated loss of €5.1bn a year earlier. This was achieved on group revenue of €47.6bn, down from €49.8bn. The loss for the year included a net of tax impairment of India of €3.7bn.

It was followed up by consumer goods titans Reckitt Benckiser (RB.), up 1.22% to 7453p, and Unilever (ULVR), up 1.14% to 4162.5p. Also puffing ahead were smokes specialists British American Tobacco (BATS), up 1.16% to 5456.5p, and Imperial Brands (IMB), up 0.95% to 3697.25p.

Several house builder chased Barratt Developments (BDEV), which was up 0.82% to 613p. Among the oilies, Shell (RDSA) gained 0.48% to 2164.75p and BP (BP.) firmed 0.4% to 466.05p, both continuing their rise on hopes of Opec extending Opec production cuts into 2018.

Several supermarkets made gains, as did a number of stocks in the retail sphere. Utilities figured on both sides of th eledger, while miners were mostly lower.

Leading to the downside, easyJet (EZJ), down 5.92% to 1232.5p, said its H1 revenue flew in 3.2% higher at £1.83bn, while it posted a headline pretax loss of £212m, which included the estimated impact of the move of Easter into its H2 and a negative net currency impact.

DCC (DCC), down 4.51% to 7032.5p, said all of its divisions recorded strong profit growth, with FY operating profit on a continuing basis up by 20.9% (12.8% on a constant currency basis) to £345m.

Old Mutual (OML), down 0.08% to 196.35p, said OM Asset Management has announced the pricing of a public offering of 17.3m of its shares at a public offering price of $14.55 each.


K3 Business Technology (KBT) fell 38.88% to 152.5p said its FY results would be significantly below current market views, and that it had started a review of its resources intending to refocusing the growth strategy around the cash generating business units and the large installed customer base.

Sepura (SEPU) rose 19.05% to 18.75p on stating the recent notification from the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy would not have implications for the timing of completion of the recommended acquisiton by Hytera Communications Corp.

Greatland Gold (GGP) rose 15.63% to 0.37p after announcing it had entered into an agreement with Newmont Exploration Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Newmont Mining Corp, with respect to Greatland's 100% owned Ernest Giles gold project.


Plexus (POS), down 14.68% to 54.5p, confirmed the challenging trading conditions in its sector have continued in H2, and this has resulted in a further material reduction of revenues for its FY 2017

Water Intelligence (WATR) fell 10.11% to 120p on posting a lower FY pretax profit of $0.77m, from a profit of $0.97m. Revenue improved to $12.2m, up from $8.8m. Stratex International (STI), down 6.45% to 1.45p, booked a FY pretax loss of £2.6m, from a year-previous loss of £0.8m. Its revenue for the period was nil.

BTG (BTG), down 6.09% to 678p, has turned in an IFRS operating profit of £57.5m for the FY, up from £56.5m a year earlier. It enjoyed strong double-digit product sales growth and generated significatn cash flows.

Premaitha Health (NIPT), up 4.94% to 10.63p, said its revenues for the year to end-March were up 24% at more than £3.1m. "Test revenues of over £3.1m were generated from the sale or in-house processing of over 24,000 non-invasive prenatal tests (NIPT)," it said.

Silence Therapeutics (SLN), up 3.06% to 88.63p, has announced a significant expansion of its chemical modification patent estate, and might consider granting licences under its intellectual property.

Anglo African Oil & Gas (AAOG), up 2.78% to 27.75p, said that workover and wireline equipment that would undertake the reperforation and acidisation of the R2 reservoir in well TLP-102, with a view to bringing the well into production, mobilised to site on 15 May.

Crest Nicholson (CRST), up 1.26% to 644.5p, said trading continued to be in line with expectations and it remained on track to deliver growth in unit sales and 10% in revenues for the full year to 31 October 2017.

Other stocks in the news included StatPro (SOG), Altona Energy (ANR), Accrol (ACRL), NewRiver REIT (NRR), Inchcape (INCH), Oakley Capital Investments Ltd (OCL), Inmarsat (ISAT), Akers Biosciences (AKR), OptiBiotix Health (OPTI) and Union Jack Oil (UJO).

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