Global markets were in freefall as concerns over rising interest rates, China's growth rate, high valuations and the ongoing trade war escalated. At around midday, the FTSE 100 traded 1.9% lower at 7,012 as miners, housebuilders and oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell were among the worst hit. Overnight, US and Asian equities fared even worse with falls of between 3% and 4% for major indices. Brent crude oil slid 2% to $81.43 per barrel and copper cheapened 1.9% to $2.72 per pound. Gold gained 1% to $1,202 per ounce. MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Bookseller WH Smith announced it is planning to close six high street shops, wind down non-core trial initiatives such as Cardmarket and WHSmith Local and restructure operational activities. Shares in WHSmith slumped 12.2% to £17.86. Homewares retailer Dunelm benefitted from rapid online growth after delivering a 4.2% rise in like-for-like sales in its first quarter, helping the stock strengthen 4.9% to 569p. Packaging specialist Mondi delivered a 30% jump in third quarter earnings to €466m and reassured investors its input cost pressure is manageable. The shares were flat at £17.75. Geotechnical contractor Keller crashed 27.9% to 693.9p as it revealed losses in its Asian operations linked to deteriorating economic conditions and reassessment of project performance in two business units. Recruiter Hays suffered an 11% fall to 156.6p on a slower quarterly growth rate in fees from placing employees due to the stronger sterling against the euro and Australian dollar. SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Fashion retailer N Brown slashed its dividend by 50% to 2.8p after a 5% decline in pre-tax profits in its first half, causing the stock to plummet 21.3% to 109p. Over half of Chariot Oil and Gas's market value was wiped off after reporting the Prospect S well offshore Namibia had no hydrocarbon accumulations. Publisher of i newspaper Johnston Press put itself up for sale after a strategic review of its financial options. The shares gained 4.5% to 3.3p.
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