Sterling weakens as slow spending threatens UK retail sales
Source - SMW
Sterling struggled following the publication of disappointing UK retail sales, while worldwide markets remained stagnant.
The FTSE 100 was flat at 7,293 with gains in drug and utility companies being offset by weakness in miners and financial companies.
West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude oil slipped to $53 and $55.35 per barrel, respectively.
Gold was stable at $1,240 per ounce and copper cheapened over 1% to $5,930 per tonne.
Asia's largest stock market, Japan's Nikkei 225, was dragged 0.6% lower by banks and car manufacturers.
The Hang Seng and SSE were also in the red as investor sentiment was subdued.
FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS
Pharma giant AstraZeneca (AZN) announced positive results from its Phase III OLYMPIAD trial. It said patients treated with Lynparza (olaparib) showed a statistically significant improvement in progression-free survival compared with those who received chemotherapy.
FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS
Healthcare packaging specialist Essentra (ESNT) revealed a 26% slump in full year adjusted pre-tax profit as sales flagged at its health and personal care packaging unit. Integration issues around its 2015 Clondalkin acquisition were blamed.
Engineering company Morgan Advanced Materials (MGAM) announced it will sell its European rotary transfer systems business for €40m on a cash and debt neutral basis. US manufacturer of motion and fluid control systems Moog was revealed as the buyer.
Upscale hotel operator Millennium & Copthorne (MLC) reported group revenue per available room (RevPAR) rose 6.6% to £76.71 in its full year results.
Property developers Segro (SGRO) beat analysts' bleak post-Brexit predictions as its full-year earnings per share and net asset value exceeded forecasts. It hiked its dividend by 5% to 11.2p per share. Segro was the biggest mid-cap riser with a 4.4% gain to 504.5p.
SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS
Arix Bioscience (ARIX) had a modest debut to the stock market as it gained 2p, up from its listed price of 207p. The business pumps money into drug developers.
Technical service provider to the gaming industry Keywords Studios (KWS) bolstered its creative development, visuals and user interface expertise with its £1.2m acquisition of Spov.
Struggling industrial dispute resolution business Driver Group (DRV) launched an £8m fund raise as it desperately tried to revive its fortunes. Full year pre-tax losses widened more than doubled from £1.9m to £5.3m.
Asa Resources (ASA) disappointed the market as revenue fell by 14% to $18.4m and gold production/sales declined by 3% to 15,365 ounces. Investors overlooked lower costs and marked the stock 17.4% lower at 1.6p.