Reckitt Benckiser slips on deal doubts

Nurofen owner and brand colossus Reckitt Benckiser (RB.) fell by 2% to £69.26 after analysts at Barclays failed to get excited about its deal to acquire baby food company Mead Johnson.

As the stock is in the top tier of the FTSE 100, the index nudged lower to 7,268.

Cigarette giant British American Tobacco (BATS) was among the top blue-chip fallers and acted as a further drag on the index.

West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude oil bounced back to $53.32 and $56 per barrel, respectively.

Gold eased back to $1,225 per ounce, while copper slumped 1.3% to $6,040 per tonne.

Investors waited for US Federal Reserve Janet Yellen to give testimony at the Senate Banking Committee, as it may offer clues over the direction of interest rates.

This dragged the Dow Jones and S&P 500 lower today as investor sentiment was more subdued.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 took a 1.1% hit after shares in laptop maker Toshiba slumped by over 7% on multi-million dollar losses in the US.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong and Shanghai’s SSE Composite failed to rally.

INFLATION UP AHEAD

In the UK, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose by 1.8% in the year to January, compared to an increase of 1.6% in the 12 months to December 2016. It was the highest rate since June 2014, according to the Office for National Statistics.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

Aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce (RR.) suffered turbulence after announcing a huge £4.6bn loss for 2016. The company issued a string of profit warnings in recent years.

Rolls-Royce took a £4.4bn hit from the weak pound following the Brexit vote and was fined £671m to settle bribery charges. One of the few bright spots was that the 49% decline in underlying profits to £813m was better than feared.

Tour operator TUI (TUI) jumped 5.3% to £12.18 after reiterating guidance of at least 10% growth in full year underlying earnings.

TUI agreed the sale of Travelopia, its portfolio of specialist travel brands, to KKR for £325m and will hold talks over the sale of TUI Fly to Etihad.

Acacia Mining (ACA) reported earnings more than doubled to $415m in 2016 as a result of higher revenues and lower operating costs.

The gold miner achieved record annual production of 829,705 ounces, which exceeded the initial guidance range for the year of 750,000-780,000 ounces.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Drug development firm Evgen Pharma (EVG) announced it was granted a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office for SFX-01. It is a synthetic version of a naturally occurring anti-cancer compound sulforaphane.

Online marketer for gaming firms Veltyco (VLTY) rose by nearly 20% as it expects trading to be significantly ahead of expectations. It announced revenue will be in excess of €5.7m in 2016, compared to €2.6m in 2015.

Aerospace company Strat Aero (AERO) raised £850,000 to invest to specific growth initiatives within its two core divisions.

AIM-listed Sunrise Resources (SRES) disappointed investors with news that EP Minerals terminated its lease of the firm’s County Line Diatomite claims in Nevada, US. The stock fell by 18.6%.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com