Oil major BP (BP.) says it will only be able to balance its books at an oil price of around $60 per barrel by the end of the year as it misses fourth quarter profit expectations. The group reports a decline in earnings for the second consecutive year to the lowest in at least 10 years, and warns that capital expenditure in the current 12 months is now likely to be higher than previous guidance at $16bn to $17bn. That sends the stock sliding 1.9% to 467.45p.

BP's statement fails to take the shine of modest gains in trading on the London markets in early deals, the FTSE 100 index adding around 10 points, or 0.12%, to 7,181.

British housebuilder Bellway (BWY) says it plans to build around 5% more homes this financial year after posting an increase in the number of properties it built over the last six months. Volumes in the six months to 31 January rose 6.5% with housing completions hitting 4,462. This news paints a positive picture for the company, nudging the shares 1.4% higher to £25.51.

Development flats

Bellway's news also ties in neatly with new UK government plans to sharply hike the number of new homes being built across the nation. There is also a renewed push to make renting more affordable and provide extra protection for tenants, in a shift away from decades of government policy almost solely promoting home ownership. That gives all of the major UK housebuilders a boost, led by Barratt's (BDEV) 2.6% share gain.

On the high street, latest data shows that British consumers reined in their spending during January, adding to signs that shoppers are turning more cautious as last year's Brexit vote pushes up inflation. The study, by the British Retail Consortium, found sales fell 0.1% year-on-year, a big slowdown on December's 1.7% retail rise.

Back on the corporate front, online trading platform Plus500 (PLUS) posts a record full year with strong revenue growth thanks to booming new customers and active users. The share price soars close on 12% in early trade on Tuesday.

Artemis Investment Management is the latest shareholder in oil explorer Ithaca Energy (IAE:AIM) to cast doubt on yesterday's potential $524m takeover by Delek, according to reports. The investment firm is believed to see the deal for the North Sea oil producer as disappointing, the second large investor to voice concern about the deal, apparently. Ithaca shares remain flat at 118.75p on Tuesday.

North Sea oil rigs moored in Cromarty Firth, Scotland, at sunset.

Components distributor DCC (DCC) heads the FTSE 100 leader board with a 6% jump to £67.30 as it delivers another robust trading update. The group is one of Shares Top Picks for 2017 and that trade is already 15% in the money in barely six weeks.

Embattled parcels business DX (DX.:AIM) is again under the cosh as it warns of ongoing 'challenging trading conditions', putting margins under intense pressure. That sparks a profit warning that sends the share price spinning a staggering 58% down, calling into question the company's very existence. At 7.5p DX is now valued at just £15m.

Education software company RM (RM.) soars 15% to 165p as it strikes a deal to buy the Education & Care division of Connect (CNCT) on a £56.5m cash free, debt free basis. RM also posts full year to 30 November 2016 results.

Tool hire firm Speedy Hire (SDY) sees its stock rally 4.5% to 53p as it reports a return to steady growth I the third quarter, posting 10.6% growth on a like-for-like basis.

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Issue Date: 07 Feb 2017