- Stronger miners offset a decline in housebuilding stocks. The housebuilders came under pressure as the UK government's proposal to reduce ground rents on long leases to zero concerned investors.

The FTSE 100 traded 0.3% higher at 7,552, boosted by gains in BHP Billiton (BLT) and Antofagasta (ANTO).

The biggest fallers among blue-chip housebuilders were Berkeley (BKG) and Persimmon (PSN), down 1.4% and 1.1%, respectively.

Brent crude oil nudged 0.1% lower to $64.47 per barrel.


Investor sentiment struggled on Wall Street last night as a lack of updates on significant US tax reform weighed on confidence. The Dow Jones closed 0.1% lower at 24,726 overnight.


Infrastructure firm Balfour Beatty (BBY) hiked its 2017 pre-tax profit forecast after agreeing to sell a 12.5% stake in M25 orbital motorway operator Connect Plus to Dalmore Capital for £103m. Its shares strengthened 1.8% to 286.8p.

Retirement housebuilder McCarthy & Stone (MCS) struggled following the government's ground rent proposal. CEO Clive Fenton said the approach would result in 'reduced housing delivery' as shares in the FTSE 250 constituent fell 8.6% to 155.1p.

Concerns over the outlook for Christmas trading loomed over homewares retailer Dunelm (DNLM) as the appointment of former Evans Cycles boss Nick Wilkinson as CEO failed to boost the shares. Dunelm retreated 1.2% to 685.5p.

A new contract with Transport for London (TfL) did not excite Capita's (CPI) investors, as the shares dipped 2.6% to 395p. The professional services company said the five year contract was for the ongoing management of TfL's access and wide area network.


Video games developer Sumo (SUMO) levelled up on its first day of trading on AIM. Its shares were up approximately 15% to 115.5p after raising £38.45m of funding to pay down debt and for working capital.

On AIM, Civitas Social Housing (CSH) was up 2.4% to 112.9p after acquiring a portfolio of East Midlands-based specialist supported living properties, which will immediately boost income.

Elsewhere, CityFibre Infrastructure (CITY) revealed its biggest public sector deal yet, signing a £15.6m agreement with telecoms provider Commsworld for Glasgow City Council. Investors took the news in its stride as the shares moved only 1% to 58.5p.

Corero Network Security (CNS) warned full year sales will be hit by delays in customer implementation schedules, with the majority of sales on two big projects expected in the first half of 2018. The stock dropped 3.6% to 6.7p.

Conroy Gold and Natural Resources (CGNR) announced it would raise £1m to commercialise its business interests and an active ground exploration programme, triggering a 54.5% rally to 19.7p.

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