The FTSE was flat at 7,373 as gains in utility firms struggled to offset weakness in mining and oil stocks. Fresnillo (FRES) was among the fallers, down 2.6% to £12.91. Another significant underperformer was Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB), down 1.5% to £24. In the utility space, British Gas owner Centrica (CNA) and SSE (SSE) sparked 1% and 1.1%, respectively. Brent crude oil was down 0.3% at $61.70 per barrel. OVERSEAS MARKETS Wall Street continued to underperform overnight, which was partially driven by retailer Target's softer than expected forecast for Christmas trading. The S&P 500 closed 0.5% lower at 2,564. MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Embattled parcel delivery service Royal Mail (RMG) reversed 0.3% to 387.9p despite better than anticipated half year results. The company's overseas division continued to perform well and offset flat sales in the UK parcels and letters business in the six months to 24 September. Engineer GKN (GKN) issued another warning for its US aerospace division, causing the stock to slump 6.3% to 291.3p. The company also said CEO designate Kevin Cummings was leaving with immediate effect. Luxury fashion brand Ted Baker (TED) was in the spotlight following a slowdown in retail sales over its third quarter thanks to tough market conditions. The stock was broadly unmoved at £25.39 as investors focused on an increase in full year wholesale guidance instead of slower sales. Real estate business British Land (BLND) was up 2.2% at 610p on a 2% jump in net asset value in the six months to 30 September. Close Brothers (CBG) made a good start to its first quarter to 31 October with strong profitability across all divisions, sparking the share price 7.6% to £14.16. Virgin Money (VM.) warned that its share of gross lending would be at the lower end of its previously guided range of 3% to 3.5%, prompting a 5.2% drop in the stock to 260.7p. SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Investors were feeling lucky with gambling firm Sportech (SPO) following news that £54m would be returned to shareholders next month following the sale of its football pools business. Shares in Sportech jumped 2.6% to 105.4p. Leisure travel group Dart (DTG) benefitted from a strong summer season with good passenger volume growth at Jet2holidays and Jet2.com, helping to boost first half pre-tax profit by 30%. Shares in Dart flew 8% higher to 648.5p. Floor coverings manufacturer Victoria (VCP) announced the acquisition of wall ceramic tiles maker Keraben for £246.5m, which was partially funded by a £180m placing. The market was pleased with the acquisition, marking the stock 6.7% higher to 845p. Engineer Keller (KLR) said it was on track to meet full year expectations thanks to growth in sales and operating profit, helping the shares rise 0.9% to 926.5p. British pub retailer Young & Co's (YNGN) revealed a 4.6% increase in like-for-like sales in its pubs and restaurants in the 26 weeks to 2 October, but the stock was flat at £10.50. Cadmium-free quantum dots manufacturer Nanoco (NANO) was unmoved at 22.7p on narrowed losses.
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