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London close: Strong finish to bad month

Date: Wednesday 31 Aug 2011

London close: Strong finish to bad month

The top share index finished the worst month since the financial crisis broke out in late 2008 with strong gains as strong economic data in the US whetted investors’ appetite for battered shares.

The purchasing managers’ index, which measures industrial sentiment for the Chicago area, came in ahead of expectations. Private sector jobs data also beat predictions.

Among today’s big gainers was bid rumour-mongers’ favourite Smith & Nephew. Latest talk has it that peer Stryker could be interested in moving for the replacement hip specialist with a possible offer of between 850p and 900p.

Property giants British Land fell after it and Land Securities suffered a two-notch downgrade to "underweight" from "overweight" by analysts at Morgan Stanley. The broker is worried that weak economic conditions will weigh on property valuations.

In the FTSE 250, investors in Bwin.party digital entertainment were celebrating. Sales at the FTSE 250 online gaming firm formed by the merger of bwin Interactive Entertainment and PartyGaming edged lower in the six months to 30 June, but the firm has raised its estimates for synergies accrued from the merger.

Workspace provider Regus posted a second day of gains after it moved back into the black after a strong performance in the first half of the year which saw occupancy at the group's mature offices rise to a record level of 86.7%.

Eastern Europe-focused oil group JKX Oil & Gas fell after it posted a decline in half year profit as it completes its Russian redevelopment project.

Books and stationery retailer WH Smith was firmer after it announced plans to buy-back another round of shares in 2012, following the £55m repurchased this year.

Australia-focused miner Norseman Gold fell into the red after it swung to a pre-tax loss of A$27.2m in the year ended 30 June, compared with a profit of A$1.1m the year before, as full-year gold production came in below expectations.

Self storage company Safestore jumped after revealing a 5.4% increase in third quarter revenue.

Shares in Pure Wafer, a provider of “wafer reclaim” services to increase semi-conductor manufacturers’ efficiencies, rose after it said growth in the semi-conductor market has been continuing.

Cape, the support services provider to the energy sector, has seen a drop in pre-tax profits from £35.5m in 2010 to £34m in the first half of this year. The decreased profits were however on increased revenues of £335m and the company has lifted the interim dividend to 4.5p from 4p.

Norcros, the home products group behind Tritons showers, was wanted after announcing it is to sell land to Morrisons, the supermarket chain, in a deal which could be worth £2.6m. The deal will see Morrisons pay £8.25m to Norcros but only after planning consent is granted.

Alba Mineral Resources, which has mineral properties in Mauritania and Ireland, narrowed losses in the half year to 31 May, but said that its ability to finance exploration activities has been severely restricted. Pre-tax losses narrowed to £68,200 from £96,400 over the same period the previous year.

FTSE 100 - Risers
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 432.00p +6.14%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 334.80p +5.72%
Glencore International (GLEN) 421.45p +5.48%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 996.50p +5.34%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,367.00p +5.32%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,349.00p +5.23%
Xstrata (XTA) 1,079.00p +5.22%
IMI (IMI) 893.00p +5.18%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,406.00p +5.16%
Fresnillo (FRES) 2,100.00p +5.05%

FTSE 100 - Fallers
Vodafone Group (VOD) 161.00p -0.92%
British Land Co (BLND) 539.00p -0.92%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 253.00p -0.75%
Schroders (Non-Voting) (SDRC) 1,190.00p -0.50%
Capital Shopping Centres Group (CSCG) 332.30p -0.06%
Schroders (SDR) 1,484.00p +0.20%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 6,485.00p +0.23%
Autonomy Corporation (AU.) 2,520.00p +0.32%
G4S (GFS) 261.00p +0.42%
Hammerson (HMSO) 408.10p +0.44%

FTSE 250 - Risers
Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 125.30p +13.91%
Regus (RGU) 75.90p +13.28%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 117.80p +12.19%
Renishaw (RSW) 1,410.00p +10.68%
Fenner (FENR) 367.70p +8.08%
Paragon Group Of Companies (PAG) 153.90p +7.92%
St. Modwen Properties (SMP) 140.00p +7.61%
Morgan Crucible Co (MGCR) 275.00p +7.42%
Invensys (ISYS) 277.50p +7.10%
National Express Group (NEX) 250.80p +7.00%

FTSE 250 - Fallers
JKX Oil & Gas (JKX) 187.40p -4.63%
Aquarius Platinum Ltd. (AQP) 247.50p -2.98%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 42.90p -2.46%
Hansteen Holdings (HSTN) 80.25p -1.71%
Henderson Group (HGG) 129.50p -1.22%
AG Barr (BAG) 1,131.00p -0.96%
Centamin Egypt Ltd. (CEY) 104.50p -0.95%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 45.65p -0.76%
TUI Travel (TT.) 153.40p -0.65%
BH Global Ltd. GBP Shares (BHGG) 1,146.00p -0.52%

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