FTSE falls amid weak oil majors and strong sterling
Source - SMW
The FTSE 100 dipped 0.2% to 7,219 as weakness among oil majors and pharmaceutical stocks, as well as stronger sterling, weighed on performance.
Wall Street is closed today to celebrate Presidents' Day.
Brent crude oil was up 0.3% at $66.49 per barrel.
In company news, trainer retailer Footasylum soared 94.1% to 56.3p after JD Sports confirmed that it had acquired an 8.3% stake in the company and could raise its holding to 29.9%.
JD Sports said it made the move for 'investment purposes' and was not intending to make full a takeover bid.
LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS
Consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser gained 4.6% to £62.96 as it hit the top end of its annual sales guidance, supporting a rise in underlying earnings. The company behind Nurofen and Strepsils also forecast 3% to 4% growth in like-for-like sales in 2019.
Bottling firm Coca-Cola HBC was flat at £25.64 on news that it acquired Serbia-based confectionery business Bambi from funds advised by Mid Europa Partners for €260m.
Petrofac fell 0.9% to 396.7p after investment bank HSBC downgraded its shares from 'buy' to 'hold.'
Shares in woundcare specialist ConvaTec went in the opposite direction, up 2.4% at 121.4p on a positive research note from Barclays.
Specialist engineering firm Spirax-Sarco Engineering said it entered into exclusive negotiations to acquire Thermocoax from Chequers Capital, TCR Capital and other minority shareholders for €158m (£139m). Its shares gained 1.1% to £67.55.
Educational publisher Pearson shed 1% to 911p on announcing it had sold its US school textbooks business to Nexus Capital Management for $250m.
SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS
Convenience store owner McColl's Retail jumped 11.4% to 56.4p despite its profit more than halving, as it posted a positive turnaround in like-for-like sales growth in the first quarter of the current year.
Petra Diamonds rose 2.3% to 27.2p as its first-half losses narrowed, it reiterated its annual output guidance and it announced that chief executive Johan Dippenaar would stand down.
Flooring company Victoria slipped 14.6%, despite forecasting higher annual earnings, as it also warned that prioritising market share had put pressure on its margins and produced 2019 guidance short of consensus forecasts.
Fishing tackle and equipment retailer Angling Direct dipped 2.1% to 71p despite forecasting its annual revenue will rise by more than third, as international sales nearly doubled.
Oil and gas engineering services business Plexus Holdings fell 9.9% to 44.1p on warning its annual earnings would miss market expectations, due to lower margins and higher overheads.
Antibiotic developer Motif Bio slumped 28% to 7.2p after it announced that it would need to raise capital, having made an early debt repayment to Hercules Capital.