Source - SMW
Weaker utility stocks dragged on the performance of the FTSE 100, which closed 0.2% lower at 7,434.

Electricity and gas giant National Grid (NG.) fell 2% to 984.6p and water firm Severn Trent (SVT) was down 1.8% to £22.64.

SSE (SSE) retreated 1.4% and United Utilities (UU.) ticked 1.4% lower.

There was bad news from struggling British department store chain Debenhams (DEB) as it warned of volatile UK trading, which could drag pre-tax profit to the lower end of the company's expectations.

Shares in the company fell 2.2% to 43.5p as investors were concerned about the grim outlook.

Brent crude oil sparked 2.2% to $46.83 per barrel. Copper and gold were both on a roll at $5,842 per tonne and $1,251 per ounce. 


The tech sell-off continued from yesterday in the US after the European Commission fined Google €2.42bn for abusing its dominance. It found that Google offered an illegal advantage to its own comparison shopping service.

Shares in Google's parent company Alphabet declined by 0.9%. Other heavyweights including Facebook and Microsoft suffered share price weakness, which kept the Nasdaq index firmly in the red.


According to reports, supermarket Tesco (TSCO) is set to launch a one-hour grocery delivery service to customers in central London in a bid to increase its competitive edge.

Shares in Tesco were up 1.3% to 169p, but its competitors Sainsburys (SBRY) and Morrisons (MRW) failed to rally.


In corporate news, Northgate (NTG) continued to struggle on the stock market after reporting full year pre-tax profit fell from £77.6m to £72.2m. Shares in the company plummeted by 16.2% to 446p.

Petrofac (PFC) was optimistic about a spate of project bidding activity as it was likely to boost profits in the first half of its financial year. Shares in the firm dipped 2% to 417.6p as investors failed to be won over. The subdued market reaction could be due to previous corruption allegations that have rocked Petrofac of late.


Floor retailer Carpetright (CPR) announced a return to UK like-for-like sales growth, although trading in Europe remained subdued. Investors were relieved that trading was not worse as the stock climbed 10.4% to 198.7p.

Mayan Energy (MYN) raised £587,000 in a discounted share placing and agreed to invest £300,000 into oil and gas firm Block Energy, helping to explain the 42% decline in its share price to 0.2p.

A proposed acquisition of Electric Word (ELE) sparked a 14.8% rally to 3.8p. The training materials provider recommended a 3.93p per share cash offer from Sport Business Acquisitions.