Wages and Brexit hopes lift sterling as FTSE falls
Source - SMW
Strong wage data and continuing hopes a no-deal Brexit will be averted helped lift sterling and contributed to losses for the FTSE 100 which was down 0.6% to 6,931.75 by midday.
On Wall Street, where trading was set to resume after being on hold for Martin Luther King day yesterday, futures markets were pointing to material declines.
LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS
Mining titan BHP fell 1.9% to £15.81, despite upgrading its annual copper production forecast, after it also warned that unit costs were tracking above guidance amid planned maintenance and production outages.
Low-cost airline EasyJet gained 1.8% as it stuck to its annual guidance, despite widely-publicised drone activity grounding flights at Gatwick airport over Christmas.
Phone retailer Dixons Carphone gained 4.5% to 143.7p after it posted a 1% rise in like-for-like revenue over the Christmas trading period and kept its profit guidance intact.
Brokerage IG Group slid 6.5% to 599.5p as it announced a 17% fall first-half profit owing to a regulatory clampdown on derivative products.
Cairn Energy gained 2.9% to 190.5p after it forecast a rise in annual oil and gas production for 2019.
Merchant banking group Close Brothers fell 0.5% to £15.55 as it warned that market volatility had impacted trading income and investment performance in an otherwise 'solid' first half.
Sirius Minerals shed 6% to 21p after it announced that it had agreed to revise the terms of a potential $3bn round of funding for its flagship fertilizer project in Yorkshire.
Pet product and veterinary business Pets at Home gained 6.6% to 133.8p as it posted a 6.3% rise in third-quarter revenue, putting it on track to meet annual profit guidance.
SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS
Time Out added 4% to 71.8p as it completed the sale of its stake in hospitality platform Flyt to food delivery group Just Eat for £9.6m.
Media services company Zoo Digital plunged 47% to 61p as it guided for annual earnings 'significantly' below expectations after the loss of a key project crimped sales.
Advanced materials supplier Velocity Composites lost 5.7% to 20.8p after it booked a deeper annual loss, owing to shrinking margins and higher expansion and restructuring costs.