Source - SMW
The FTSE 100 remained in negative territory as weakness in oil firms and utilities offset gains in the mining sector.

Despite a recovery in the price of Brent crude oil, which rose 1% to $47 per barrel, Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) and BP (BP.) were approximately 0.5% and 1% down to £21.13 and 455.4p, respectively.

The oil giants are among the biggest in terms of market cap, hence why their share price movements have such a major influence on the market cap-weighted FTSE 100 index, today down 0.6% to 7,385.

Utility companies National Grid (NG.) and Severn Trent (SVT) also contributed to the underwhelming index performance. National Grid was down 1.3% to 971.6p and Severn Trent fell 0.9% to £22.43.

Copper and gold nudged 0.2% to $5,842 per tonne and $1,248 per ounce. 

UK house price growth regained momentum in June, according to Nationwide's latest data. Annual house price growth was up to 3.1%, which was reassuring following a decline in prices over the last three months.


The Dow Jones got off to a decent start, up 0.6% to 21,429, following reassuring comments from US central bankers last night. Financial stocks including JP Morgan and American Express were particularly in demand.

Yesterday's tech-sell off in the Nasdaq index faded way and the index was back in positive territory, up 0.6% to 6,184.


In UK-listed corporate news, Bunzl (BNZL) was among the top blue-chip performers after buying three new businesses in Spain and Canada. The share price sparked 1.5% to £23.43, helped by news that trading was in line with expectations.

An 'outperform' recommendation for broadband provider BT (BT.A) from investment bank Macquarie sparked a 1.9% jump in the stock to 294p.


Elsewhere, broker Cenkos downgraded its recommendation to 'hold' for Sophos (SOPH), dragging the share price 5.9% lower to 443p.

Investors were spooked after Societe Generale sold its remaining 2.8 million shares in TBC Bank (TBC), which prompted a 4.9% decline in the stock to £15.52.

William Hill (WMH) gained 1.5% to 254.4p after the US Supreme Court announced yesterday it would hear arguments on whether to allow sports betting in New Jersey and, by extension, elsewhere in the US. According to media reports, William Hill could benefit as it is the leading land-based sports betting operator in Nevada.

Transport operator Stagecoach (SGC) remained cautious on revenue trends and operating profit in its bus and rail divisions in the UK. Operating profit in the UK bus division fell 11.8% to £121.1m in the year to 29 April 2017. Over the same period, UK rail performed worse as operating profit more than halved to £31m. The shares slumped 6.2% to 191p.

Petra Diamonds (PDL) was also the bearer of bad news with a profit warning. The diamond miner warned that revenue was anticipated to be approximately 8% to 9% below expectations, triggering a 8.7% drop in the share price to 103.5p.

In the retail sector, Dixons Carphone (DC.) ticked 0.7% lower to 293.7p with a robust set of full year results. It reported a 10% jump in headline pre-tax profit to £501m in the year to 29 April 2017.

Beleaguered oil producer Tullow Oil (TLW) was up 1.5% at 154p after it flagged 'tough market conditions'.


Among the small caps, toiletries manufacturer Creightons (CRL) was a clear winner thanks to a 171% surge in operating profit to approximately £1.5m in the year to 31 March 2017. Shares in the company soared 28.9% to 31.2p.

Disappointing like-for-like sales at sausage seller Crawshaw (CRAW) failed to excite the market as the stock plummeted 13.8% to 25p. The company reported a 4.5% decrease in like-for-like sales in the 20 weeks to 18 June as it struggled with a challenging consumer environment.