- Asian equities performed strongly on Monday, setting a positive tone for other markets around the world.

The FTSE 100 traded 0.4% higher at 7,277, helping by gains in mining stocks.

A 0.8% rise in the gold price put a shine on FTSE-quoted gold miners including Randgold Resources (RRS), up 2.3% at £61.54; and Fresnillo (FRES), up 2.1% to £13.39.

Primark owner Associated British Foods (ABF) was also among the blue chip winners after announcing profits were expected to be 'well ahead' year-on-year. The stock jumped 2.4% to £27.08.


Strong trading in North America supported positive half year results at Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH), up 1.5% to £23.62. Underlying operating profit rose 22.3% to £47.4m in the second half of 2017.

Investors were pleased with media firm Ascential's (ASCL) half year results after earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation soared by 25% to £119.5m. Shares in the company were marked 6.2% higher to 401.8p.

Outsourcer Bunzl (BNZL) smashed market expectations for full-year sales and pre-tax profit, but this failed to move the shares at £20.04.

Engineer Senior (SNR) rallied 2.4% to 292p despite a 4% fall in adjusted operating profit last year. The market focused on strong cash flow and a significant cut in debt from £155.3m to approximately £40m.

Insurer Hiscox (HSX) had a difficult year, delivering pre-tax profit of £93.6m in 2017, down from £202.1m in 2016. The shares fell 3.4% to £13.48.


Pathfinder Minerals (PFP) plummeted 35.7% to 0.6p after revealing there was no ongoing settlement negotiation for the return of its mining licenses in Mozambique.

Chariot Oil & Gas (CHAR) put media rumours to rest by confirming it was in advanced stages of raising $15m in new funds to deliver a second well in Namibia. Its shares crashed 24.1% to 15.4p.

LED lighting specialist Dialight (DIA) dimmed 4.1% to 510p following a disappointing year as operational issues hampered its ability to deliver orders to customers. The company said action was being taken to fix the issues, but its results would be heavily weighted on the second half of its financial year.

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