London's main markets were hit by a profit warning from tech outfit Laird (LRD) and a slowdown in sales at consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser (RB.). The FTSE 100 nudged lower to 6,990 and the FTSE 250 fell 0.3% to 17,933. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil advanced 1.5% to $51 and Brent crude oil rose 1.4% to $52.39 per barrel, respectively. Gold slid higher to $1,262 per ounce, while copper was flat at $4,629 per tonne. UK unemployment rate was unchanged, remaining at nearly an 11-year low as unemployment rose by only 10,000 in the three months to August, according to the Office for National Statistics. FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS Consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser (RB.) was one of the biggest fallers, declining 2.5% to £71.41 as investors questioned whether it can hit full year expectations. A third quarter update showed net revenue growth slowed to 2%, lower than the performance in the first half of its financial year. Builders' merchant Travis Perkins (TPK) slumped 7.2% to £13.80 on plans to close 30 branches and incur £50m of one-off costs in a supply chain efficiencies programme. Chief executive John Carter said it was still too early to predict demand in 2017. Sector peer Grafton (GFTU) also fell 2% to 512.5p. FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS Laird (LRD) was cut off by investors as weak mobile phone sales led to lowered profit guidance, which sent shares crashing 45% lower to 169.1p. It said its expects underlying pre-tax profit to be around £50m, down from analyst estimates. The update is another blow to the firm after chief executive David Lockwood agreed to depart for defence outfit Cobham (COB) in August. Pest control Rentokil (RTO) was in positive territory after reporting revenue from on-going operations climbed 16.6% in the third quarter, which was driven by acquisitions and organic growth. SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Investors revealed a sweet spot for Hotel Chocolat (HOTC) as better than expected full year results triggered a 3.3% rise to 235p. Pre-tax profit soared 181% to £8.2m in the year to 26 June. AIM-listed investment firm Cluff Natural Resources (CLNR) soared 28.3% on significant gas estimates from Xodus. The company estimated gas in place on P2248 in the range of 760 billion cubic feet to 7.2 trillion cubic feet. Highland Natural Resources (HNR) said recent analysis of DT Ultravert suggested it was a solution for protecting existing wells from damage and enhancing well productivity, causing the stock to trade 36.7% higher. Software provider OneView (ONEV) fell 32% on lower revenue expectations for the year, as a result of delays in some major pipeline contracts. Vehicle retailer Motorpoint (MOTR) disappointed investors following a downbeat trading update, which revealed its volume and margin performance in the first half of the year was below expectations due to the Brexit vote. Shares plummeted 20.5% to 132.7p. Property regeneration specialists U and I Group (UAI) fell 3.7% to 158.8p on poor investment portfolio performance as a result of uncertainty surrounding the EU referendum result.
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