London shares were firmly on the back foot to midday, with a string of insurers, banks and miners guiding the blue-chip index south. Overall, ex-dividend stocks also acted as ballast. To midday, FTSE 100 was down 47.7 points, or 0.68%, to 6976.31 and FTSE 250 dropped 30.94, or 0.17%, to 17,925.3. At 11.48am, gold was up 0.58% to $1261.1/oz. The dollar-spot index was down 0.11% to $97.863. Sixty-five blue chips were heading lower, about 30 by 1% or more. Insurer Standard Life (SL.) plunged 4.59% to 332.9p. Prudential (PRU) dropped 3.81% to 1394.25p. Sector pals followed. Among metals burrowers, Rio Tinto (RIO) lost 3.78% to 2605.25p, while BHP Billiton (BLT) ebbed 3.33% to 1197.25p. Anglo American (AAL), off 2.19% to 1017.75p, noted a Kumba Iron Ore subsidiary has been granted the residual 21.4% undivided share of the mining right for the Sishen mine. Meantime, other financials lower included multiple banks, and also several investment specialists. Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) lost 2.43% to 1207p despite reporting a rise in AUA. Oil majors, supermarkets, high-street retail and several pharmas were also southbound. Mondi (MNDI), down 2.99% to 1606.5p, expects to benefit from stable to higher selling prices in a number of key product segments as it moves into 2017. Unilever (ULVR), down 2.79% to 3619.5p, has reported nine-month underlying sales growth of 4.2%, ahead of its markets, with price up 2.8% and volume up 1.3%. To the limited upside, gold-focused miners Fresnillo (FRES), up 3.21% to 1688.5p, and Randgold (RRS), up 1.88% to 7060p, made progress. Commercial property and utilities also firmed. House builders were guided by Persimmon (PSN), up 3.55% to 1751p, and Taylor Wimpey (TW.), up 2.92% to 147.9p, as new data showed the price of UK homes rose again in September. Sky (SKY), down 1.59% to 850.75p, said its Q1 sales rising 13% to £3.15bn, or up 5% on a like-for-like basis. "We are on track as we enter our busy Q2 trading period." BIGGER MOVERS DiamondCorp (DCP) said 74%-owned subsidiary Lace Diamond Mines (Pty) Ltd has been issued with a Section 54 shut down notice on underground operations at the Lace diamond mine by the South African Department of Mineral Resources (DMR). DCP fell 39.13% to 1.75p. Sula Iron & Gold (SULA), up 14.29% to 0.12p, has conditionally raised $400,000 gross via a subscription for 304.6m new shares at 0.1p per subscription share. GoldStone Resources (GRL), down 13.33% to 1.95p, said a former director and employee has made a claim in The Labour Court of South Africa relating to the termination of his employment. The sum sought would represent a significant proportion of Goldstone's cash resources. ECONOMIC NEWS UK house prices firmed in September, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said. Its house-price balance was 17%, which was ahead of expectations and up on August's rise of 12%. Germany's final consumer-price index (CPI), a measure of inflation, for September rose 0.1%, which was in line with forecasts and unchanged from August. LONDON HIGHLIGHTS Crimson Tide (TIDE), up 9.73% to 3.1p, has signed its most significant long term contract with a large UK retailer. The contract value is worth over £1.7m of additional revenue over an initial term of 48 months. Scholium (SCHO), down 9.21% to 34.5p, said its H1 sales were materially below the level achieved last year, however at a significantly increased margin, as a result of which directors expect a small loss. Coats Group (COA), up 8.15% to 36.5p, expects its adjusted FY operating profit to be ahead of its previous views. Additionally, improvements to non-operating items will further benefit adjusted EPS, providing current foreign exchange rates persist until the end of the year. CloudBuy (CBUY), up 7.14% to 5.63p, has signed an agreement with UOB a leading bank in Asia for its marketplace technology to power a new online marketplace for UOB customers. Anglo Asian Mining (AAZ), down 5.95% to 19.75p, has provided an operations and production update from its Gedabek gold, copper and silver mine in western Azerbaijan for the three months to Sept. 30, 2016. Iofina (IOF), down 5.88% to 12p, said it produced 125.1 metric tonnes (MT) of crystalline iodine in Q3 2016, and has produced 380.7 MT year to date from its five IOsorb plants in Oklahoma. DekelOil Public (DKL), down 3.41% to 10.63p, has issued a production and sales update for the quarter ended 30 September 2016. Haydale Graphene Industries (HAYD), up 2.99% to 207p, said subsidiary Haydale Composite Solutions Ltd has appointed 3DFilaPrint as its distributor of its graphene enhanced 3D Printing PLA filaments in the UK and Eire. Other stocks in the news were Vianet (VNET), Ideagen (IDEA), Polo Resources (POL), Versarien (VRS), Collagen Solutions (COS), Kolar Gold (KGLD), WH Smith (SMWH) and ICAP (IAP).