A 2.2% decline in the price of Brent crude oil to around $68 per barrel and falling commodity prices elsewhere weighed on the FTSE 100 as miners and BP (BP.) tumbled. Gold decreased 1% to $1,331 per ounce and copper cheapened 1.1% to $3.16 per pound. Glencore (GLEN) slipped 4.2% to 382.7p and Antofagasta (ANTO) was down 1.1% 911.6p. BP suffered a 1% hit to 496.2p, helping the FTSE close 0.6% lower at 7,443. UK construction output growth was on the verge of vanishing as the Purchasing Managers' Index fell from 52.2 in December to 50.2 in January. A reading of over 50 implies growth and one under 50 suggests contraction. OVERSEAS MARKETS In the US, the S&P 500 fell 1% to 2,794 around 5pm UK time following underwhelming corporate results from likes of ExxonMobil, which revealed lower than expected profit in its fourth quarter. Positive employment data failed to lift the negative investor sentiment as the Dow Jones was also down 1.3% at 25,851. MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Cobham (COB) was down 6.4% at 116.8p following its decision to divest its AvComm and Wireless test and measurement businesses to Viavi Solutions for $455m. Cineworld's (CINE) acquisition of US cinema chain Regal was approved, alongside the rights issue to fund the deal. The stock advanced 1.3% to 518.5p. Challenging market conditions at broadband provider BT's (BT.A) global services division hit its third quarter sales, down 3% to £5.97bn. Shares in BT reversed 3.2% to 247.6p. AstraZeneca (AZN) missed analysts' earnings per share (EPS) forecasts of $3.61. The pharma giant said EPS is expected to hit $3.30 to $3.50 in the year to 31 December 2018. The shares were up 2.8% at £50.24. Wood Group (WG.) announced US tax changes will provide a non-cash credit to the profit and loss account in the year to December and push the firm's tax rate in the future. The stock was flat at 650.2p. A negative outlook from broker Jefferies on estate agent disruptor Purplebricks (PURP) triggered a 7.6% slide in the stock to 418.6p. Purplebricks responded to Jefferies' criticism of its revenue recognition policy, claiming full year trading is in line with expectations. Home credit business Provident Financial (PFG) appointed Malcolm Le May as chief executive officer, nearly six months after the departure of Peter Crook. Shares in the firm rose 6.7% to 715p. SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Laura Ashley (ALY) was marked 2.8% higher at 6.8p after taking back brand licensing rights to Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong from Aeon. Specialist pharma firm N4 Pharma (N4P) was awarded a feasibility grant from Innovate UK to co-fund a collaborative project with MedImmune UK, propelling its shares 35.7% higher to 27.4p. A positive update on Eurasia Mining's (EUA) mining permit application for the Kola Peninsula in Russia sparked a 30% share price rally to 0.3p. Mobile Streams (MOS) warned that first half revenue would more than halve thanks to challenging market conditions in India. Over a third of the company's value was wiped off.
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