UK stocks plunged on Friday as data showed Eurozone economic growth weakened in the fourth quarter of 2019. The French and Italian economies in particular struggled, both shrinking unexpectedly. Meanwhile a strengthening pound weighed on the value of export-focused companies. At 1200, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 68.44 points, or 0.93%, to 7,313.52. LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Luxury car maker Aston Martin revved 17.5% higher to 473p on announcing that it would raise £500m, partly via a £182m investment from Formula One billionaire Lawrence Stroll. The rest of the capital would be raised from a rights issue, for which details were pending. Power utility SSE rose 0.4% to £15.07 after it said its renewable energy output was running behind plan, potentially affecting annual earnings guidance that it nevertheless maintained. Soft-drinks maker Britvic gained 4% to 911p as it reported a 4.9% rise in first-quarter revenue and said it remained confident of completing a sale of its French juice business this year. Broadband provided TalkTalk rose 2% to 115p, even as its revenue slipped in the third quarter, though it stuck to its earnings guidance for the full year. Specialist component manufacturer Senior shed 1.5% to 164.5p after it warned revenue and margins at its key aerospace division would fall in 2020 due to the ongoing grounding of Boeing's 737 MAX aircraft. Iron ore group Ferrexpo dropped 3.35% to 135.7p on revealing that a Ukrainian court had frozen its stake in Ferrexpo Poltava Mining, amid a corruption probe into former chief executive Kostyantin Zhevago. Wealth manager Hargreaves Lansdown lost 6.65% to £17.54, despite reporting a rise in first-half profit underpinned by new business inflows. London West End property investor Shaftesbury firmed 0.6% to 905.5p on the back of 'high footfall and good trading' throughout the festive period. Research and data analytics group YouGov gained 1.5% to 653p after it said it was trading in line with its expectations for the first half, amid a particularly strong performance from its data products in the US and UK. Smart Metering Systems jumped 5.5% to 520p on growing its annual recurring revenue by a fifth, putting it on track to meet market expectations for the year. SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Recruitment company Staffline, already reeling from accounting error problems, dropped 9.6% to 67p as it warned of adjusted earnings 'materially below' its most previous guidance. Advertising company M&C Saatchi dropped 8.6% to 101p, having confirmed that the UK's financial watchdog was investigating the company after it made errors in its accounts. Homewares retailer Laura Ashley sank 7.9% to 2.99p after announcing that chief executive Kwan Cheong Ng would retire at the end of April.
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