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FTSE 100 taps its foot, waiting for Scottish referendum


UK shares marked time, waiting on the Fed while also tracking developments in the Scottish independence debate.

The FTSE 100 drifted 11 points lower to close at 6,781.

Smiths Group (LON:SMIN) was the only Footsie constituent with a trading update out today and the verdict was negative.

The shares shed 6% as the performance of the Detection and Medical divisions underwhelmed.

Away from the big boys, Mariana Resources (LON:MARL) was up 19% after it raised up to US$6mln through a convertible agreement with Bergen's Global Opportunity fund.

Sector peer W Resources (LON:WRES) added almost 8% after it said its 1,500 metre drilling programme on the Tarouca tungsten project in Portugal had identified an “outstanding” exploration target in the north-eastern portion of the licence area.

The update followed the completion of the final five of 15 holes, which uncovered further “significant” high grade mineralisation.

The day’s best performer was Adams (LON:ADA), the cash shell formerly known as Carpathian. The shares shot up after fairly meaningless results from the company, which has yet to determine where to direct its firepower.

The reason for the tripling of the share price was as much a mystery to the board of Adams as it was to the rest of the market.

RM Group (LON:RM), the IT firm focused on the educational sector, hardened 8.4% after its most upbeat trading statement in a long time, with third quarter trading ahead of expectations.

In the oil sector, Sound Oil (LON:SOU) was sharply higher after interims revealed half-year revenues were £490,000, up from £106,000 the year before.

Sector peer 3Legs Resources (LON:3LEG) tumbled 14% as it took the opportunity to escape from its Polish shale gas venture.

That decision knocked the share price of another Polish shale gas explorer, San Leon (LON:SLE), although San Leon noted that the hydrocarbon liquid:gas ratio in the Lublewo LEP-1ST1H well drilled by 3Legs appears to be in excess of 10 times that in the Lewino-1G2 well drilled by San Leon, and said it still had faith in its Polish assets.

Back office software firm EG Solutions (LON:EGS) remained on the comeback trail after a difficult 2013. The shares jumped 7.4% after a sparkling set of interims that saw the company return to the black, with a pre-tax profit of £0.62mln versus a loss of £1.48mln in the first half-year of 2013.

Revenues rose 78% year-on-year thanks to an unprecedented nine contract wins in the first half; chief executive officer Elizabeth Gooch told Proactive Investors that the company regarded six wins over a whole year as a good performance, so she was especially pleased to notch up nine in half that time.

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