The pound wobbled following comments over the likeliness of an interest rate hikes by the Bank of England in November and uncertainty over Brexit negotiations. The Bank of England's deputy governor Jon Cunliffe said it was an 'open question' whether official interest rates would go up next month. That sent the pound down to $1.3117. A strong finish from utilities and banks helped to offset weakness in insurers and media stocks. The net result was a mere 2.09 point increase in the FTSE 100 on the day to 7,526.54. Brent crude oil surged 1.1% to $58 per barrel. Copper was up 0.2% to $3.18 per pound and gold fell 0.3% to $1,274 per ounce. OVERSEAS MARKETS Construction machinery manufacturer Caterpillar rallied 5.8% on Tuesday after its third quarter results beat expectations. The Dow Jones was trading 0.7% to 23,445 as of 4.35pm UK time and the S&P 500 was 0.2% ahead at 2,569.28. MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Costa Coffee owner Whitbread (WTB) revealed a slowdown in like-for-like sales growth for its coffee chain as rising inflation squeezed disposable incomes. The company's Premier Inn hotels business helped drive a 19.9% increase in group pre-tax profit to £316m for the first half of the year, but investors focused on the negatives as its shares fell 5% to £37.45. In the mining sector, Anglo American (AAL) was flat at £14.44 despite a 6% increase in copper production in the three months to 30 September. Services provider Serco (SRP) acquired US defence firm BTP Systems and a portfolio of UK health facilities management contracts from embattled construction firm Carillion (CLLN). Shares in Serco were rose 1.4% to 117.8p in response. There was also good news for wealth manager St James's Place (STJ) as third quarter net inflows of funds under management jumped to £2.36bn from £1.66bn a year earlier. The stock nudged 1.4% higher to £11.86 on the news. Essential supplies provider Bunzl (BNZL) ticked 0.4% higher to £22.64 as its third quarter performance was consistent with expectations outlined in August. Energy services provide Hunting (HTG) sparked 7.7% to 491.8p on a strong trading update for the three months to 23 October, driven by sales growth primarily through US onshore activity. Management said full year sales would now hit $700m. SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Carillion enjoyed a relief rally due to new credit facilities and deferrals on specific debt payments, together with the sale of certain interests to Serco, prompting the shares to jump 7.4% higher to 47p. Book publisher Bloomsbury (BMY) left the market spellbound thanks to bumper sales of the Harry Potter series. Adjusted first-half profit jumped 74% and lifted shares in the firm by 0.9% to 163p. Carpets seller Carpetright (CPR) was unmoved at 180p despite warning that first half profit would be below last year's as volatile trading conditions continued to be seen in the UK. Shoe Zone (SHOE) said full year profit would 'broadly' meet expectations despite revenue slipping slightly due to the closure of underperforming stores. Shares in the firm accelerated 4.8% to 162.4p. Household products manufacturer McBride (MCB) warned sales were lower across the business, which disappointed the market, sending its shares down 7.6% to 213.2p.
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