Oil prices dropped sharply after Iran announced plans to boost production and US crude oil output hit a record high. Brent crude oil declined 2.2% to $63.35 per barrel. This dragged on the performance of oil majors BP (BP.) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB), falling by up to 2.3% apiece. As the stocks are among the biggest in terms of market cap, the FTSE fell 1.1% to 7,092 amid continuing stock market volatility across the globe. Copper cheapened 1% to $3.04 per pound and gold was down 0.2% at $,314 per ounce. OVERSEAS MARKETS An early recovery in US equities on Friday stalled after the Dow Jones shed over 1,000 points the day before. The Dow Jones was flat to 23,860 while the Nasdaq surrendered most of its gains, to trade up just a handful of points at 6,788 around 4:45pm UK time. MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Direct Line (DLG) said it expects to deliver £540m in pre-tax profit in the year to 31 December, beating analysts' expectations of £508.1m and accelerating its shares 2.7% to 378.5p. Johnson Matthey (JMAT) fell 4.3% to £31.10 on news that its rival Umicore raised significant funds to invest in rechargeable battery materials. West End property investor Shaftesbury (SHB) continued to experience high football and robust trading since October, but this failed to move the shares much at 943p. SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Business travel business Hogg Robinson (HRG) catapulted 48.7% to 116p following a takeover offer from American Express Global Travel for 120p per share. Hogg Robinson also reported it will sell its payment tech division Fraedom to Visa for £141.8m. Property portal OnTheMarket (OTMP) had an underwhelming debut on AIM due to concerns of competitive threats. Its shares slumped nearly 10% from its 165p issue price to 149p. Trinity Mirror (TNI) was hot off the presses after sealing a £126.7m deal to acquire the Express and Star newspapers and revealing it was 'marginally ahead' of expectations. The shares gained 9.6% to 76.5p. A £2m share placing for oil and gas firm Angus Energy (ANGS) impacted its share price, down 20.3% at 6.5p. The company said the funds will put towards the acquisition of a 25% interest in the Balcombe licence.
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