The FTSE 100 Index moved modestly into positive territory on Wednesday, held back by miners.
The Footsie lifted 7.1 points to 6827.89 in early trading, although the UK-focused FTSE 250 was nearly 20 points off at 17827 and small-cap indices were also in the red.
Property services group Styles & Wood Group PLC (LON:STY) gained 15.8% to 395p on news of its appointment as one of four strategic partners by an unidentified major banking and financial services customer.
But Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd (LON:GKP) dropped just under a quarter to 3.64p after it published an open offer timetable, with results of the offer due to be announced on September 16.
Petroneft Resources PLC was also off 13.4% at 2.1p as the Russia-focused oil &gas explorer and producer updated on drilling and operations at its licence 61 in the Tomsk Oblast.
Back among the blue chips, the top winner was upmarket housebuilder Berkeley Group Holdings (:LON:BKG) with a 2.5% increase to 2660p after the Nationwide House Price Index rose 0.6% in August, taking property price annual growth to 5.6% and the average house price to £206,145.
Ipek Ozkardeskaya at London Capital Group said: “The precious metal traded below the $1310 (July support) in New York yesterday. There is a rising possibility of a further dip at $1300 / 1297.”
Gulf Keystone Petroleum seeks fresh capital from shareholders https://t.co/ZGy54Kzqec— Proactive News Desk (@UK_Proactive) August 31, 2016
Preview at 6.59am
London’s blue chips are set to open lower again after a quiet session on Wall Street.
Financial spread bet firms forecast Footsie will shed around 20 points in early trading, adding to yesterday’s 17 point drop to 6,821.
The lacklustre mood reflects Wall Street, where all three of the main indices closed lower in what was described as very light trading.
Apple dominated the US headlines after the US$13bn tax bill from the EU for its arrangements in Ireland.
The iPhone maker responded aggressively, claiming that the European Commission was attempting to “re-write Apple’s history in Europe, ignore Ireland’s tax laws and upend the international tax system in the process.”
Other companies facing similar EU probes also come under scrutiny. Starbucks, Fiat Chrysler and Amazon are also under investigation.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 49 to 18,454 while there were similar sized percentage falls for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq.
Asian markets were mixed with gains for the Nikkei, a dip in Honk Kong and a flat performance in Shanghai.
UK announcements due
Numis analyst Richard Stuber said that if nothing else it showed management has plenty of ambition.
“We forecast robust growth in FY16 with opportunities to reinvest, in sports and in developing geographical markets in particular, offset, on translation, by the strength of the US Dollar, 888’s reporting currency.”
Numis is forecasting US$250mln for first half revenue, which would be a 14% year-on-year improvement, whereas earnings are seen at US$40.9mln.
In the commodities markets, gold rose US$3 to US$1,313 an ounce, Brent crude was flat at US$48.32 per barrel and the pound ticked up against the dollar to US$1.309.
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