The FTSE 100 takes its cue from weak trading in Asia overnight and weakness in commodity markets to slip 0.2% to 7,303.55 early on.

Non-life insurer Lancashire Holdings (LRE) expects to report a loss in the third quarter owing to an expected loss of $30m from claims within its marine portfolio. The company also says it expected further losses in the range of $25m to $45m from exposure to natural catastrophes.

The company cited several including hurricane Florence, and typhoons Jebi, Mangkhut and Trami. The shares drop 4.6% to 560p.

Retailer French Connection (FCCN) confirms it is currently reviewing all strategic options to deliver maximum value for its shareholders, including a potential sale of the company. The shares surge 44.5% to 62p on the news.

The retailer says, however, that there was no certainty that either an offer would be made for the company, or the terms on which any offer would be made.

Under market rules, French Connection is now considered to be in an 'offer period', Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct (SPD) owns 26.7% of the firm.

Wealth manager Schroders (SDR) gains 1.2% to £30.35 as it confirms it is in discussions with Lloyds Banking (LLOY) about 'working closely together' in parts of the wealth sector.

Talks were ongoing and there could be no certainty they would lead to any formal arrangement being entered into, the company says.

Schroders made the statement after Sky News reported Lloyds wanted to merge its wealth management arm into a new joint venture with Schroders. Lloyds is flat at 59p.

Daily Mirror and Express newspaper publisher Reach (RCH) says third-quarter revenue rose by 21% in the third quarter, due to its acquisition of Express & Star.

However, on a like-for-like basis, revenue fell 7%, reflecting tough times for print media. Circulation and publishing print advertising revenue fell by 4% and 20%, respectively. The shares slip 2.6% to 63.9p.

Drug developer Diurnal (DNL:AIM) falls 53.5% to 50p as its Chronocort adrenal insufficiency treatment fails to meet its primary objective in its phase III trials.

London-focused estate agent Foxtons (FOXT) gains 3.5% to 56p after rival Knight Frank reports earnings growth in its latest financial year.

Management software group Sopheon (SPE:AIM) says it now expects its results for the full year to exceed current market expectations after it won new business in the third quarter.

Revenue visibility has now broken through the $30m mark, the company adds. Back in August revenue visibility for the year stood at $27.2m.

'Since that statement, a number of further transactions have been signed resulting in a record third quarter performance, traditionally our quietest quarter due to the holiday period,' Sopheon adds.

The shares respond, gaining 10.9% to £10.07.

Power control component supplier XP Power (XPP:AIM) says its revenue for the first nine months of the year had grown by 18%, though growth in its order intake had moderated slightly.

Revenue for the nine months through September rose to £146.1m, supported by acquisitions. The shares tick up 1.6% to £30.48.

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Issue Date: 08 Oct 2018