Investors continued to fret about US interest rates after Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell was non-committal in his appearance before US lawmakers. By the close the FTSE 100 was down 0.2% at 7,536.47 while at 4.30pm UK time the S&P 500 was down 0.06% at 2,974.70. Sterling slipped to two-year lows on no-deal Brexit fears and this provided some support to UK blue chips. Industrial group Melrose fell 4.3% amid negative news from the automotive sector which is a big customer for its GKN business. Construction firm Kier remained under pressure down 10.4% to fresh lows amid concerns over its financial position. LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Online grocery retailer Ocado gained 5.6%, despite booking a deeper first-half loss partly owing to a fire at its Andover distribution centre in the UK. The company also posted an 11% rise in sales. Software group Micro Focus International shed 5.3% after its first-half revenue slipped 7%. The company stuck to its full-year guidance for a fall of 4-6%. Housebuilder Bovis Homes gained 0.2% as it reported higher sales rates and selling prices in the first half. Listed residential landlord Grainger advanced 0.3% on news that it had agreed to forward fund a 146-home development in Canning Town, London for about £62m. Sports Direct dipped 1.4% as it declared its £52m bid for video game company Game Digital unconditional after it was accepted by more than half of the target's shareholders. Game Digital fell 0.3%. Animal-drug developer Dechra Pharmaceutical gained 1.5% on reporting an 18% rise in annual revenue in a trading update. Recruitment company Robert Walters fell 4% despite net fee income rising by 7% in the second quarter, owing to growth overseas offsetting weakness in the UK. SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Industrial chain supplier Renold sank 22.4% after it admitted to identifying accounting mistakes in previous results that led to an overstatement of profits. The company has consequently delayed its annual general meeting. Trafalgar Property slumped 37% after it revealed that it had failed to secure funding needed to acquire an assisted living development site in Camberley.
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