Weakness in pharmaceutical stocks AstraZeneca (AZN) and Hikma (HIK), as well as consumer goods giants Reckitt Benckiser (RB.) and Unilever (ULVR) acted as a headwind for the FTSE. The index retreated 0.1% to 7,112. UK consumers were feeling the pinch as retail sales declined by 1.4% in the first three months of 2017. The disappointing figures were blamed on rising prices. Oil prices were stable as Brent crude oil stood at $53 per barrel. OVERSEAS MARKETS The market was more optimistic about tax cuts under US President Donald Trump's administration following comments from the Treasury Secretary on Thursday. The S&P 500 was up 0.7% and the Dow Jones gained 0.8%. In Japan, the steel sector flourished despite Trump ordering a probe into imports of the metal. The index closed 1% higher on Friday, while the Hang Seng and SSE Composite were flat. FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS Frankie & Benny's owner Restaurant Group (RTN) announced chief financial officer Barry Nightingale would step down from the board and leave the company with immediate effect. A successor had yet to be appointed. Nurofen and Durex products seller Reckitt Benckiser (RB.) achieved in line first quarter results in challenging macro conditions, but this failed to excite the market as the stock fell 1.6% to £71.57. FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS Engineer WS Atkins (ATK) agreed terms of a recommended all-cash acquisition by SNC-Lavalin. Each Atkins shareholder would receive £20.80 in cash per share, valuing its market cap at £2.1bn. The market approved of the deal as Atkins sparked 4.9% higher to £20.79. Mike Ashley expanded his Sports Direct (SPD) empire into the US with a $101m acquisition of Bob's Stores and Eastern Mountain Stores. The market overlooked the news as the stock nudged 1.7% lower to 309.5p. SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS There was disappointing news for pharma firm Vernalis (VER) as it received a complete response letter from the US Food and Drug Administration. It did not raise concerns with the formulation or pharmacokinetic profile of CCP-07, but identified outstanding items that needed to be addressed prior to approval. Currency management services firm Record (REC) fell 13.8% to 40.5p as its assets under management equivalents rose to $58.2bn in March, up from $56.6bn at the end of 2016. Management was not confident in its outlook as it said the environment of political uncertainty that has prevailed since the middle of 2016 looks set to continue. Investors had jitters about possible fresh funding for schools-focused sports tracking business GoTech (GOT). With only £0.485m of net cash on the books, further funding looked likely to be needed to continue its early stage development. This sent the share price tumbling 6% to 2.7p. New management at BNN Technology (BNN) caused the shares to rally 11% to 75.1p. The company appointed Harry Keiley as non-executive chairman and established an advisory panel.
-3.00p (-0.14%)delayed 12:43PM
-138.50p (-1.93%)delayed 12:43PM
-3.90p (-1.10%)delayed 12:43PM
+0.10p (+0.03%)delayed 12:43PM
+0.01p (+0.03%)delayed 12:39PM