Commodity weakness hits FTSE

The blue chip index was dragged 0.5% lower to 7,061 by BP (BP.) and mining stocks as copper as commodity prices fell.

BP (BP.) fell 1.5%, while Fresnillo (FRES), Randgold Resources (RRS) and BHP Billiton (BLT) slipped into the red.

The pound fell against the dollar by 0.6% to $1.23, but regained some ground against the euro, although this still stood at €1.11.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil slumped 1.3% to $50.70 and Brent crude oil 1.4% to $52.41 per barrel, respectively.

Gold and copper cheapened to $1,253.8 per ounce and $4,806 per tonne, respectively.


Specialist fit fashion purveyor N Brown (BWNG) jumped 16.5% higher after delivering half year results ahead of expectations, which was encouraging considering a tough spring/summer season for the retail sector.

Global lifestyle brand Ted Baker (TED) was in positive territory on better-than-expected half year results, which was driven by good growth in the US and a strong licensing performance. Pre-tax profits rose by over a fifth to £21.5m and the dividend was hiked to 14.8p.

Housebuilder McCarthy & Stone (MCS) reassured investors with an optimistic trading update that revealed stronger reservations and normal cancellation rates after sales slowed immediately after the EU referendum.

Net fee income growth at recruiter PageGroup (PAGE) fell from 3.7% in the second quarter of 2016 to 1.3% in the three months to 30 September. All but one of the professional services specialist’s four global regions declined at constant currency, with Europe gaining 10.4%. Shares traded 5.5% higher at 367.9p.

Chief executive David Hummel at Victrex (VCT) said its financial year to 30 September finished strongly, though full-year reported revenues are expected to be down around 4%. Revenue and volume grew in the second half of the year but Hummel was cautious on performance in the year ahead due to weak demand for consumer electronics. Shares rose 8% to £17.53.


Investors were pleased that Greatland Gold (GGP) started drilling at its Ernest Giles project in Western Australia, triggering a share price rise of 27.9%.

React Energy (REAC) sparked 14.3% to 4p after signing a conditional heads of agreement with several parties to potentially fund the repowering of its 4MW biomass gasification project in Northern Ireland.

Home improvement group Entu (ENTU) crashed 18.8% to 19.9p following a downbeat update that revealed EBITDA outturn for the year to 31 October 2017 is expected to be materially below expectations.

Translation business RWS (RWS) was 12% higher at 282p on record results after the acquisition of two businesses over the past 12 months. Revenue and adjusted profit before tax for the year to 30 September would not be ‘not less than’ £122m and £30.5m, respectively.

Shares in Prairie Mining (PDZ) soared 53.3% to 18.4p after it bought the Debiensko coking coal mine in Poland, previously the flagship growth project of New World Resources. Prairie paid €2m for the asset, which was subject to significant levels of planning.

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