London's FTSE 100 falls 31.57 points to 6,538.4 on Friday, with housebuilders on the back foot after Jefferies International downgrades names across the sector. Persimmon (PSN) is off 69p at £14.70 as the broker switches its recommendation from 'buy' to 'underperform', Taylor Wimpey (TW.) tumbles 4.9% to 126.3p on a downgrade from 'buy' to 'hold', while Barratt Developments (BDEV) cheapens 4.5% to 434.1p, now rated 'underpeform' rather than a 'buy'.
Elsewhere, embattled supermarkets titan Tesco (TSCO) reverses 2.2% to 204.65p following a credit downgrade from ratings agency Moody's, giving up some of yesterday's stellar gains driven by better-than-expected Christmas sales and a radical turnaround plan.
Equipment rental business Ashtead (AHT) advances 3.4% to £11.69 as Credit Suisse reiterates its 'outperform' rating. The investment bank has a £12.20 price target for the stock.
Global food and drinks concession operator SSP (SSPG) falls 1.9% to 265p as its first quarter trading statement flags challenging trading in Continental Europe and uncertainty around passenger numbers. Nevertheless, the Upper Crust-to-Caffe Ritazza brand owner, a running Play of the Week, reports a 2.7% like-for-like sales increase driven by the UK, North America, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.
Meat packing specialist Hilton Food (HFG) is marked down 1.95% to 389.25p, despite serving up a largely positive pre-close trading statement. There's progress with infrastructure investments to report, though turnover is being adversely affected by currency and lower raw material prices.
Small cap wealth manager STM (STM:AIM) skips 4.3% higher to 25p as chief financial officer Therese Neish buys 170,200 shares at 23.5p. The £40,000 purchase comes on top of a recent buying by Alan Kentish, director of business and product development.
Video games developer Frontier Developments (FDEV:AIM) surges 13% to 237.5p as it reports encouraging sales since the launch of Elite: Dangerous on 16 December. The group expects 2015 revenue from the game to be at least £7.5 million.
Frankie & Benny's owner Restaurant Group (RTN) edges 1.4% higher to 694.5p as investors welcome a 2.8% increase in 2014 like-for-like sales and news of strong Christmas trading. Management says the outlook for 2015 and beyond is very positive given growth in disposable consumer income, an increasing number of new site openings and a considerably improved outlook for UK cinema.