UK employment data and Brexit bill delays weighs on pound
Source - SMW
The UK unemployment rate remained static at 4.3% despite an extra 94,000 people working in the quarter to August, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The unemployment data and a delay to the Government's Brexit bill weighed on the value of the pound.
Sterling weakness tends to benefit the FTSE 100 as 70% of its constituents generate earnings overseas.
Overall the FTSE 100 rose 0.3% to 7,542.
British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) topped the blue-chip winners on a positive broker note from Credit Suisse. Shares in the airline jumped 2.5% to 651.7p.
Travel firm TUI (TUI), previously known as Thomson, flew 2% higher to £13.47 following plans to add more flights to fill gaps left by the collapse of Monarch.
Brent crude oil nudged 0.2% higher to $58 per barrel and copper cheapened 0.7% to $3.16 per pound.
The Dow Jones continued to gain positive momentum in the US thanks to a highly anticipated tax reforms from President Donald Trump and expected strong corporate results. The index opened 0.5% higher on Wednesday.
MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS
Rio Tinto (RIO) announced it was fined approximately £27.4m by the Financial Conduct Authority for breaching disclosure and transparency rules over its Mozambique mining assets. The stock dropped 3% to £35.99.
The miner also announced the US Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint in relation to its disclosures about the assets.
Elsewhere in the mining sector, BHP Billiton (BLT) maintained all production and unit cost guidance for the 2018 financial year. The share price was static at £14.04 in response.
Nurofen owner Reckitt Benckiser (RB.) had a mild headache after like-for-like net sales fell by 1% in the third quarter amid challenging trading conditions. Its share price was flat at £70.30.
DS Smith (SMDS) ticked up 4% to 491.2p on an agreement to acquire EcoPack and EcoPaper for €208m.
There was bad news from Nostrum Oil and Gas (NOG) as it announced its new gas plant GTU3 will not bring in gas this year. Two other gas plants will be shut down for a short period of time in the fourth quarter. The news dragged the stock 3.2% lower to 391.8p.
Hochschild Mining (HOC) was on track to hit its 37 million silver equivalent ounces target for the year following record production levels in the third quarter. The update excited the market as the shares jumped 4.6% to 231.5p.
IT infrastructure provider Softcat (SCT) rallied 5.4% to 462.8p after the company hiked its final dividend after a large rise in annual revenue, driven by new customer wins.
SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS
Hilton Food Group (HFD) fattened 6.4% to 840p after agreeing to acquire chilled UK fish processor Icelandic Group for £80.8m in cash.
Flybe (FLYB) struggled to take off following a profit warning in the first half of its financial year due to higher than expected costs. The stock slumped 20.4% to 35p.
Estate agent Foxtons (FOXT) revealed a 'resilient performance' in its third quarter to 30 September, helping the stock rise 7.3% to 78.3p. The firm said downward pressure on rents across the market was partially offset by 'a modest growth in volumes.'
Engineer group Chamberlin's (CMH) said its underlying profits would now be in line with the prior year due to production issues affecting its margins. The stock fell 13.7% to 85p on the news.