London stocks opened lower with pharmas, oilies and consumer goods issues guiding the blue-chip ladder south, after positive turns on Wall St and in Asia overnight and as crude oil prices fell.

Smith & Nephew (SN.) led with a 1.68% slide to 1256.5p, and was chased by Hikma (HIK), down 1.09% to 2275p, and further back Astrazeneca (AZN), lower 0.45% to 5153.5p. Oil majors traced crude slump. Shell (RDSA) ebbed 0.79% to 1903.25p and BP (BP.) dropped 0.56% to 422.83p.

At 8.35am, WTI crude was at $42.34/bbl and Brent was at $44.59/bbl, both firmly lower. Gold was trading at $1358/oz, strongly ahead. Soon after the open, FTSE 100 was down 13.21 points, or 0.19%, to 6838.09, while FTSE 250 faded 16.56, or 0.09%, to 17,670.8.

Consumer goods followed Reckitt Benckiser (RB.), down 0.51% to 7422p. Also tapering were leisure, several miners, commercial and residential property and a number of utilities. Others in these sectors eked out gains. In all, 46 blue chips were down, most by less than 1%.

To the upside, gainers were piloted by Rolls-Royce (RR.), up 2.55% to 783p, with banks and insurers in hot pursuit. Gold-sensitive miners Randgold (RRS), up 1.8% to 8647.5p, and Fresnillo (FRES), up 0.64% to 1969.5p, were on the front foot.

G4S (GFS), up 14.29% to 223.55p, has won new contracts with a total value of £1.4bn. Underlying H1 profit rose to £199m, up 8.2%. The interim dividend was maintained at 3.59p a share. Land Securities (LAND), up 0.46% to 1103p, has secured three new London lettings.

BIGGER MOVERS

Harvest Minerals (HMI), up 32% to 8.25p, said an independent scoping study for its Maximus Direct Application Natural Fertilizer (DANF) Project had highlighted its robust economics and the simple low-cost mining and processing required to support the initial trial mining permit.

Midatech Pharma (MTPH), up 16.74% to 132.5p, expects H1 revenues of £3.80 million, up from £0.32 million a year ago and in line with revised market expectations.

Arcontech (ARC), up 12.35% to 0.36p, has booked a FY pretax profit of £302,329, up from £243,660 last time.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Interserve (IRV), up 11.09% to 355.5p, has posted an H1 pretax loss of £33.8m, compared with a profit of £33.7m a year ago. Revenues were up 2.4% at £1,632.9m. Interim dividend was 8.1p a share, up 2.5%.

RTC Group (RTC), down 10.69% to 58.5p, has lifted its H1 pretax profit to £447,000, from £398,000, with revenue ahead at £34.1m, from £29.5m.

Entertainment One (ETO), up 7.66% to 234.15p, has rejected a preliminary approach because it fundamentally undervalued the company and its prospects.

Parkmead Group (PMG), up 6.91% to 50.25p, has doubled its stake in the Polecat and Marten oil fields in the UK Central North Sea.

Paysafe Group (PAYS), up 6.06% to 414.8p, has materially improved its H1 pretax profit to $74,551, from a year-earlier profit of $4,593.

Trafalgar New Homes (TRAF), down 4% to 1.2p, has swung to a FY pretax profit of £204,877, from a year-earlier loss of £619,106. Turnover was £2.2m, from £3.9m.

Centamin (CEY), up 3.23% to 177.15p, said its gold production rose to 140,306 ounces in Q2, up 12% on the previous three months and 30% higher than a year ago.

Kibo Mining (KIBO), down 4.55% to 5.25p, has signed a share purchase agreement to effect the consolidation of the Imweru and Imwelo gold projects.

Karelian Diamond Resources (KDR), down 3.03% to 0.8p, has received a large database of information relating to the diamondiferous Lahtojoki kimberlite pipe from A&G Mining Oy.

Other stocks in the news included Share (SHRE), Quantum Pharma (QP.), Adecco (ADEN), Gem Diamonds (GEMD), Tritax Big Box REIT (BBOX), Starwood European Real Estate Finance (SWEF), Petra Diamonds (PDL) and Dalradian Resources (DALR).