Source - SMW
Tensions in Spain ahead the reported imposition of direct rule on Catalonia from Saturday continued to stall any positive momentum in the FTSE 100.

The FTSE 100 was 0.2% lower at 7,523.

UK retail sales declined 0.8% in September in stark contrast to sales growth in August, according to the Office for National Statistics. The downbeat data hit the pound, which fell 0.6% against the euro.

Consumer giant Unilever (ULVR) was the biggest blue chip faller as third quarter growth was affected by a poor contribution from Europe and natural disasters in the Americas, causing turnover to fall 1.6%. The stock slumped 3.7% to £43.79.

Brent crude oil dipped 1.1% to $57.49 per barrel and copper cheapened 0.3% to $3.16 per pound. 

OVERSEAS MARKETS

Tech colossus Apple sunk 2.4% on demand concerns for its latest iPhone models, which dragged the Nasdaq index 0.7% lower to 6,575 on Thursday.

E-commerce corporation eBay was also weaker following a warning that profits in the current quarter would not meet forecasts.

MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Flexible workspace provider IWG (IWG) crashed 35.4% to 206.2p on a profit warning. The company reported operating profits will be materially below market forecasts as an improvement in sales was weaker than anticipated.

Shares in price comparison site GoCompare (GOCO) slumped 5% to 99.2p after chairman Peter Wood sold 21.3 million shares, effectively cutting his stake in the firm from 30.7% to 25%.

London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) ticked 0.9% lower to £38.82 on news its chief executive Xavier Rolet will step down at the end of December 2018 after nine years in the top job.

Casino operator Rank (RNK) announced like-for-like sales growth of 2% for the 16 weeks to 15 October, but venues revenue was down by 1%. The stock was up 1% at 232p.

Landscaping products manufacturer Marshalls (MSLH) acquired pre-cast concrete manufacturer CPM Group for £38.3m, triggering a share price rise of 6.8% to 472.5p.

A better than anticipated third quarter trading update from Travis Perkins (TPK) boosted the share by 4.2% to 475.3p. The UK's largest builders' merchants delivered like-for-like sales growth of 4.1% despite a challenging market.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

A profit warning from construction group Interserve (IRV) caused the shares in the construction group to plummet 30.7% to 62.3p. The company said operating profit in the second half would be approximately 50% lower compared to last year.

Beach holiday retailer On the Beach (OTB) grew its UK revenue by 17% in the year to 30 September, with a strong second half sales growth of 26%. Despite the strong results, the stock retreated 2.4% to 439.1p on a previously announced one-off cost to help customers travel following airline Monarch's descent into administration.

Miniature fantasy models manufacturer Games Workshop (GAW) levelled up thanks to higher sales and profit, leading to earnings upgrades. Shares in the firm climbed 10.7% to £22.22.

Rurelec (RUR) said it expects 'minimal payments' from Energia del Sur, which operates the Southern Patagonian CCGT power plant in Argentina, after a temporary modification of a steam turbine. Shares in Rurelec toppled 20% to 1.5p.