Source - SMW
The pound continued to batter the US dollar, rising 1.5% to $1.42 as sentiment was supported by upbeat UK unemployment figures.

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

Stronger sterling applied pressure on the FTSE 100's dollar earners, prompting a 1.1% fall to 7,643.

Among the top fallers were British American Tobacco (BATS) and Imperial Brands (IMB), down by up to 2.4%.

National Grid (NG.) and United Utilities (UU.) also dimmed by approximately 1.9%.

Brent crude oil slipped 0.4% to $69.67 per barrel and copper rallied 3.9% to $3.21 per pound. 

OVERSEAS MARKETS

Wall Street was a mixed bag on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones rising 0.2% to 26,258 around 4:45pm UK time.

The Nasdaq dipped 0.6% to 7,417.

MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

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 2.3% to £12.99 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 6.5% to 768.2p on the news.

Miner Fresnillo (FRES) sparkled at £13.84 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 0.6% to 960.6p. The copper miner reported that production dropped 0.7% in the fourth quarter of 2017, although this was in line with guidance.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

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 fell flat and were down 1% at £24.09.

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 1.6% higher to 101.6p.

Plant Health Care (PHC) grew 28.5% to 18.6p 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% drop to 3.2p.