Source - SMW
The FTSE 100 struggled for direction at 7,728 as gains in banks were balanced out by falling housebuilders.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) benefitted from a 3% rise to 289p thanks to investment bank Morgan Stanley's upgrade from 'equal weight' to 'overweight.'

Shares in HSBC (HSBC) were also up by 2.4% to 784.7p.

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey (TW.) disappointed investors after warning of political and economic risks. Its order book declined year-on-year from £1.68bn to £1.62bn, causing the stock to drop 4.3% to 199.9p.

Investors marked down peers Persimmon (PSN) and Barratt Development (BDEV) too.

Brent crude oil was up 0.4% at $69 per barrel. 

A 1.4% increase in UK manufacturing helped the index of production gain 1.2% in the three months to August 2017 according to the Office for National Statistics.

The picture was not as rosy in construction as output contracted by 2% in November, representing the largest fall since August 2012.

OVERSEAS MARKETS

Investors remained positive on the US economy following sweeping tax reforms, with the Dow Jones making the biggest jump of 0.4% to 25,385 overnight.

MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

UK supermarket Sainsbury's (SBRY) was in the headlines as it expects profit to beat expectations following record Christmas trading. Shares in the company advanced 1.4% to 251.9p.

The Financial Conduct Authority revealed areas of 'serious concern' in its review of contract for difference providers and distributors. CMC Markets (CMCX) suffered a 3.8% hit to 151.6p and IG (IGG) declined 3.3% to 753.3p. On AIM, spreadbetter Plus 500 (500) retreated 4.3% to £10.84.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Formal menswear specialist Moss Bros (MOSB) slumped 18.3% to 73.5p following an 8% decline in like-for-like sales since December and a cut in profit guidance.

Struggling Interserve (IRV) rallied 20.4% to 119.9p, driven by expectations that 2018 operating profit would beat previous guidance and in-line trading for 2017.

The failure to complete two contracts was bad news for Cambridge Cognition (COG). The monitoring software developer reported sales would fall in 2017 after two contracts worth £2.3m did not complete by the end of the year. Its shares crashed 16.3% to 128.9p.

Video games developer Frontier Developments (FDEV) implied sales of Elite Dangerous would 'normalise down' in the second half of the year. This concerned the market as its shares slid 7% to £13.85.


Related Charts

CMC Markets (CMCX)

0.00p (0.00%)
delayed 17:30PM

IG Group Holdings (IGG)

-0.50p (-0.07%)
delayed 17:30PM

Royal Bank of Scotland Group (The) (RBS)

-3.90p (-1.31%)
delayed 17:30PM

Sainsbury (J) (SBRY)

+0.60p (+0.23%)
delayed 17:30PM

Taylor Wimpey (TW.)

-1.55p (-0.78%)
delayed 17:30PM