Source - SMW
Sterling was on a roll against the dollar on the back of positive unemployment data.

Unemployment in the UK fell to 1.44 million between September and November 2017, according to the Office for National Statistics.

This put pressure on the FTSE 100's dollar earners and the index traded 0.3% lower at 7,704 around midday.

Brent crude oil was flat at $70 per barrel.


Encouraging results from Netflix dominated headlines and caused shares in Nasdaq to rally 0.7% to 7,460 overnight.

Dow Jones struggled on underwhelming results from Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble, leaving the index flat at 26,210.


Investors raised a glass to pub chain JD Wetherspoon (JDW) as a 6% rise in like-for-like sales helped beat pre-tax profit expectations. Shares in the company gained 2.7% to £13.05 despite a warning that second performance will not be as strong due to rising costs.

Sage (SGE) disappointed the market after its first quarter sales failed to hit its 8% target, with sales growth at 6.3%. The stock dropped 7.3% to 761.2p on the news.

Miner Fresnillo (FRES) sparkled at £13.62 following a 16.6% annual increase in silver production compared to 2016 thanks to its San Julian mine operating at full capacity.

Elsewhere in the sector, Antofagasta (ANTO) had a difficult time with its shares shedding 1.5% to 952.4p. The copper miner reported that production dropped 0.7% in the fourth quarter of 2017, although this was in line with guidance.


Tonic mixer specialist Fevertree (FEVR) dethroned Schweppes to become the number one brand in the UK and reported full year results should beat expectations. Its shares fizzed 2.6% higher to £24.99.

Countrywide (CWD) announced that Peter Long will temporarily replace Alison Platt, who resigned following a recent profit warning. Investors were pleased with the update, marking the stock 2.2% higher to 102.4p.

Plant Health Care (PHC) grew 40.7% to 20.4p on a 22% increase in revenue to $7.7m, driven by strong sales growth in Europe and Africa.

A warning from CloudBuy (CBUY) that sales for the year to 31 December are expected to be below market expectations prompted a 17.3% drop to 3.2p.