The FTSE began lower with sterling falling notably against the dollar and euro as the market awaits the Queen's Speech later this morning. The speech was expected to be brimming with Brexit material. The UK and EU began formal divorce talks on Monday. PM Theresa May had yet to form a government. Not long after the open, the FTSE 100 was down 20.91 points, or 0.28%, to 7451.8, while the FTSE 250 was down 48.3, or 0.24%, to 19,723.4. Gold and silver prices were advancing, but copper was lower. Crude was once again on the retreat, with WTI and Brent down by roughly 1% each. Provident Financial (PFG) was down a hefty 14.45% to 2451p after issuing a profit warning after the close last night. Its fall was head and shoulders beyond that for Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.), off 1.58% to 1340.5p, and Smiths Group (SMIN), lower 1.24% to 1598p. Insurers traced Prudential (PRU), off 0.87% to 1799.25p, while banks followed Lloyds (LLOY), off 0.79% to 66.48p. Oil majors were down with the price of crude. BP (BP.) shed 0.74% to 456.85p, while Shell (RDSA) fell 0.73% to 2075.25p. Miners were sprinkled throughout the losers list. To the upside, Whitbread (WTB), up 5.01% to 4046p, reported a 2.9% rise in like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to 1 June. This performance was in line with its expectations. Shire (SHP), up 1.24% to 4424.5p, said the US FDA has approved Mydayis, a treatment for patients 13 years and older with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. LONDON HIGHLIGHTS HaloSource (HALO), up 150% to 2.63p, has reached an agreement with Shanghai JiuBan Industrial Co to distribute a new line-up of filtering water pitchers and bottles, marketed under HaloSource's new astrea brand, via the e-commerce channel in China. Starcom (STAR), down 18.75% to 1.63p, has conditionally raised £645,000 before expenses via a placing of 43m new shares at 1.5p each, together with the issue of warrants over new shares on the basis of one warrant for every 5 placing shares. Braveheart Investment (BRH), up 13.33% to 17p, swung into the black in the year to the end of March with a pretax profit of £780,000, against a loss of £1.7m last time. Investment management revenue rose to £1,154,000 from £1,133,000 last time. Ferrum Crescent (FCR), up 11.43% to 0.1p, said its current drill programme at Toral was progressing on schedule. Highlands Natural Resources (HNR), up 4.81% to 27.25p, has been granted a patent in the US for its 'parent well protection process'. Gulfsands Petroleum (GPX) fell 8.92% to 3.88p after providing an update on its Moulay Bouchta Petroleum Agreement, which was held by subsidiary, Gulfsands Petroleum Morocco Ltd (GPML). Bluebird (BMV), up 6.67% to 2p, said the formal procedure granting land access to the Gubong mine in South Korea has been granted - three weeks earlier than projected. The company said the permit allowed for ingress to the Gubong mine. Walker Greenbank (WGB), down 2.74% to 195p, said that at this early stage it anticipates meeting directors' expectations for the full year. Empyrean Energy (EME), down 3.45% to 7p, has raised £660,000 gross via a placing of 12m ordinary shares at a discounted 5.5p each. Proceeds would be used for general working capital. Other stocks in the news included Berkeley Group (BKG), WH Ireland Group (WHI), Hornby (HRN), Immunodiagnostic Systems (IDH), easyHotel (EZH), Touchstone Innovations (IVO), Wynnstay (WYN), LXi REIT (LXI), RedstoneConnect (REDS), Mercia Technologies (MERC), Echo Energy (ECHO), Assura (AGR), Polemos (PLMO), Trans-Siberian Gold (TSG) and Atlas Mara (ATMA).