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Strong half-year results pushes Petra Diamonds to a record close


Petra Diamonds sparkled yesterday as strong half-year results pushed London’s largest listed diamond miner to a record close.

Petra revealed a 17 per cent increase in production over the last six months, just ahead of expectations, and reported a “firmer” market for the precious stones than last year.

Investors cheered the news, sending Petra 5.6p higher to 216.6p. But Shore Capital’s Yuen Low questioned “whether costs rose more than prices”.

The FTSE 100 bubbled along, down 3.48 points at 6,788.07, with traders preparing themselves for the barrage of results due on both sides of the Atlantic this week. Reckitt Benckiser, up 135p at 5,205p, helped support the index after revealing plans for a spin-off of its pharmaceutical arm.

BSkyB also made gains, 30p better at 904.5p, as it took a punt on the Silicon Valley virtual reality start-up Jaunt.

After Friday’s stellar gains, Royal Bank of Scotland retreated 12.2p to 352p as investors reassessed their reaction to the bank’s surprise profit figure.

Ophir Energy was driven 8.4p higher to 207.1p on the mid-cap index by a spike in trading late in the session.

Mothercare slumped 20.25p to 238p on news that Matt Smith, its finance chief, is to join Debenhams and one-time US suitor Destination Maternity is no longer interested in a bid. The board said it “remains confident in the ongoing execution of Mothercare’s strategy”.

On Aim, Stadium Group, which makes power products and electronic displays, announced it had spent £8m on United Wireless, which specialises in cellular connectivity. Stadium, up 7p at 73p, said the deal would “significantly” boost full-year earnings.

Portable hotel room provider Snoozebox climbed 0.37p to 8.37p as its turnaround strategy appeared to be working. The company, which has rooms at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, revealed falling costs and losses in the first half and said events such as the Ryder Cup will make the second half even stronger.

Tangiers Petroleum lost 3.25p to 8.5p after one of its exploration wells offshore in Morocco came up dry.