FTSE rallies as Provident Financial plunges – Stock Market Wire

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StockMarketWire.com – Provident Financial (PFG) crashed 57.3% to 745p after ditching its interim dividend. The company said its collections performance was running at 57% compared to 90% in 2016 and sales were also £9m per week lower than the comparative weeks in 2016.

Despite the underwhelming performance, the FTSE 100 rallied 0.7% to 7,373 due to stronger mining stocks, which were led higher by Antofagasta (ANTO) and BHP Billiton’s (BLT) upbeat results.

Rio Tinto (RIO) and Glencore (GLEN) were up 2.1% and 1.2% to £35.21 and 346.4p.

Brent crude oil surged 0.6% to $52 per barrel. Gold and copper were down 0.3% to $1,287 per tonne and $6,547 per ounce.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

Shares in housebuilder Persimmon (PSN) were heading in the opposite direction as it boosted pre-tax profit by 30% to £457.4m in the first half of 2017, up from £352.3m in 2016. The stock was up 2.9% at £26.30 on the good news.

Antofagasta had a strong first half with revenues up 41.9% at $2,049m, due to stronger copper prices and a 14.3% increase in sales volumes. Investors were pleased with the positive results, marking the shares 2.7% higher to 985.8p.

Elsewhere in the mining sector, BHP Billiton swung into the black in the year to the end of June with a profit of $5.9bn against a loss of $6.4bn last year. The company also announced plans to sell its onshore US assets, driving the stock 3.1% higher to £14.10.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

Wood Group (WG.) was resilient at 573p despite operational profit falling 32.1% to $72m in the six months to 30 June 2017.

Cairn Energy (CNE) enjoyed a 1.7% lift to 177p after swinging into profit following strong progress across its business in the first half of the year. The oil and gas explorer reported $314m profit, up from a loss of $38m last time.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

News from Ortac Resources (OTC) that its Casa Mining venture commenced exploration drilling operations at the 1.5Moz Akyanga deposit in the Democratic Republic of the Congo triggered a share price rally of 13% to 3.4p. Ortac owns 22.2% of Casa.

Sphere Medical’s (SPHR) share price continued to suffer after the company announced it was considering leaving AIM and re-registering as a private limited firm. Approximately 80% of Sphere Medical’s value has been wiped off since the announcement after the stock market closed on Monday.

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