FTSE 100 drifts lower again


FTSE 100 retreated throughout the morning shedding 20 points to 6,875 on rising tension in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia has launched air strikes in Yemen against Houthi rebels though a Saudi army official said there were no immediate plans to send in troops.

Mining giant Anglo American (LON:AAL) was the biggest faller, 3% lower at 1,043p, after rival copper miner Antofagasta (LON:ANTO) warned torrential rains and flooding in a desert region in northern Chile led to the temporary closure of three of its mines. 

Anglo operates in the region as does Glencore (LON;GLEN) down 2.5% to 289p, Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) 2% lower at 2,821p and BHP Billiton (LON:BLT) 1.25% lower at 1,523p. Antofagasta fell 1.5%.

Yesterday’s increase in commodity reveresed this morning with gold, silver and platinum all shedding more than 0.5%.

Precious metal miners Randgold Resources (LON:RRS)and Fresnillo (LON:FRES) also struggled this morning, down 2.8% to 4,764p and 1.5% to 699p respectively.

EasyJet (LON:EZJ), was the big riser early, with a gain of  more than 1.7% to 1,868p after it was upgraded by broker RBC Capital Markets to ‘Outperform’ from ‘Sector Perform'. Yesterday, the firm raised guidance for its half year numbers.

In other broker news, Prudential (LON:PRU) was rated ‘buy’ by US investment bank Goldman Sachs and broker Jeffries, despite being one of the companies most likely affected by the FCA’s expected annuities shake-up. Shares were flat at 1,685p.

Elsewhere, Royal Bank of Scotland (LON:RBS) confirmed it is to sell its private banking business Coutts International to Swiss bank Union Bancaire Privée. Shares fell 1.3% to 345p.

In small cap news, e-commerce specialist cloudBuy (LON:CBUY) announced another contract, this time with a major US cloud-based provider to provide its services in America. This follows a contract win in the Middle East yesterday. Shares jumped 12% to 23p.

Miner Xtract Resources (LON:XTR) has taken out an option over two copper tailings dumps in South Africa with five more in its sights. Shares rose more than 25% to 0.24p.

Tungsten miner W Resources (LON:WRES) perked up after it paid of its convertible loan from financier Bergen. Shares jumped 16% to 0.28p.

Oil and gas group Oilex (LON:OEX) continued to rise after its announcement yesterday of first gas production in May. Shares today rose 31% to 3.9p.

PR company Porta Communications’ (LON:PTCM) chairman bought 1.34mln shares at 7.5p each. Shares jumped 8% to 8.1p.

Ambitious property firm Real Estate Investors (LON:RLE) is to raise £40mln to fund expansion of its portfolio in the West Midlands. Shares rose nearly 3% to 60p.

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