A weaker pound helped support gains in blue chip companies thanks to its positive implication for overseas earnings, with Imperial Brands (IMB) enjoying the biggest lift of 2.5%. Bad news from housebuilder Persimmon (PSN) had a negative read across for the sector, as peers Barratt Development (BDEV) and Taylor Wimpey (TW.) fell 2.2% and 1.8% to 636.9p and 197.4p, respectively. Persimmon said third quarter sales were flat year-on-year, causing the stock to fall 3.5% to £27.72. The FTSE 100 was trading 0.2% higher at 7,525. Brent crude oil was stable at $63.65 per barrel. OVERSEAS MARKETS Concerns over potential delays to US President Donald Trump's tax bill cast a shadow over the market and left investor sentiment subdued. The S&P 500 was broadly unmoved at 2,588. MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS High street retailer Marks & Spencer (MKS) revealed a better than anticipated pre-tax profit drop of 5.3% to £219.1m in the 26 weeks to 30 September. Despite the beat, shares in the fashion retailer are down 0.8% at 324.9p. Insurer Esure (ESUR) rallied 2.2% to 262.8p on upgraded full year guidance, driven by a record quarter of premiums at £233m. Elsewhere, budget friendly pub chain JD Wetherspoon (JDW) reported third quarter like-for-like sales rose 6.1%, but this failed to fatten the stock at £12.48. Oil and gas explorer Tullow Oil (TLW) upgraded its annual production guidance thanks to a strong operating performance from assets in West Africa. The stock was static at 200.7p. Hungarian airline Wizz Air (WIZZ) disappointed investors after its full year net profit guidance range was hiked to between €265m and €280m, but this was below consensus expectations of €286m. The market overlooked higher sales and profitability, marking the stock 9.3% lower to £30.24. IT security solutions provider Sophos (SOPH) was flat at 614.3p on an improved full year outlook and strong billings growth. OneSavings Bank (OSB) revealed its strong financial and operational performance continued into the third quarter, prompting a 3.9% jump in the share price to 413p. SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Hilton Food's (HFG) strategy of co-operating with retail partners paid off as it boosted volumes from 17 July to 8 November, helping the stock advance 0.6% to 869.5p. Investment trust Workspace (WKP) enjoyed a strong start to its financial year in April thanks to higher profits and net asset value being driven higher by more demand for office space. The stock gained 1.8% to 922.6p on the positive half year results. Equipment rental firm VP (VP.) acquired tool hire business Brandon Hire for £41.6m, helping the shares rise 4.7% to 830p. Avon Rubber (AVON) was up 5.7% at £10.99 after winning a 10-year, multiple award framework contract from the US Department of Defence. Zanaga Iron Ore (ZIOC) announced its project was awarded an environmental permit by the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Congo. The good news triggered a 59% surge in the share price to 9.7p. Customer delays dragged on technology solutions supplier Stadium (SDM). The company said it expected single digit percentage growth in pre-tax profit currently below market expectations, causing the stock to crash 23% to 89.7p.
-11.00p (-0.89%)delayed 17:01PM
-2.20p (-0.72%)delayed 17:06PM
-2.00p (-0.07%)delayed 17:07PM
+1.70p (+0.99%)delayed 17:02PM