Source - SMW
A slight retreat in the rate of inflation in the UK to 3% in December 2017 versus 3.1% in November weighed on the value of sterling. That in turn led to declines in banking shares including Lloyds (LLOY) which fell 1% to 69.88p and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) down 1% to 297p.

The mining sector was also weak with Antofagasta (ANTO) faring worst with a 2.7% decline to £10.10 thanks to a decline in the value of copper.

The FTSE 100 fell 11.2 points to 7,757 in late morning trading and the FTSE All-Share index traded 4.3 points lower at 4,260.

Brent crude oil slid 1.3% to $69.32 per barrel. 

Among the blue chip stocks in positive territory, chemicals group Johnson Matthey (JMAT) traded 2.5% higher at £32.90, extending yesterday's gains driven by positive broker comment.

Elsewhere, UK house prices were up 5.1% in the year to November 2017, but London prices lagged behind with a smaller 2.3% increase in prices alongside the North East.


The US stock markets were closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Day and will open later today.

In France, the CAC 40 index advanced by 23 points to 5,532; and the DAX index in Germany traded 137 points (equal to a 1% gain) higher at 13,338.


Looking at UK stocks more closely, JD Sports Fashion (JD.) upgraded pre-tax profit guidance for the year to 3 February 2018 to approximately £300m, up from between £270m and £295m. The trainers and sportswear retailer ran 5.9% higher to 387.2p.

Sausage rolls seller Greggs (GRG) delivered its seventeenth consecutive quarter of like-for-like sales growth thanks to a jolly Christmas trading, helping the shares rise 2.5% to £13.38.

Home credit specialist Provident Financial (PFG) cheapened 8.2% to 844p after warning its consumer credit division would incur a pre-exceptional loss for 2017 of £120m.

Asset manager Ashmore (ASHM) reported its assets under management increased $4.5bn to $69.4bn in its second quarter. The stock was broadly unmoved at 431.4p.


Teleradiology services provider Medica (MGP) slumped 12.4% to 170p as full year results missed market expectations due to capacity constraints and weaker demand in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Budget gym operator The Gym Group (GYM) was in rude health thanks to sales growth of 24.3% in 2017. The increase in sales was supported by a 35.5% rise in new memberships. The stock accelerated 1.7% to 231p.

Speciality chemical business HaiKe (HAIK) could be ready to throw in the towel. The struggling company said it was exploring strategic options, including potentially delisting from AIM, following an underwhelming trading update. Its shares crashed 35.7% to 18p.

IT solutions provider Instem (INS) rallied 28.7% to 184p thanks to strong trading in the second half of 2017 and a contract win worth over £1.7m over two years.

The market was also pleased with IG Design (IGR) which gained 4.2% to 397.5p following a hike in full year guidance, driven by strong trading in its third quarter. The greetings card maker said it also expected earnings to benefit from US tax reforms.