Weak pharma, banking and oil stocks left the FTSE flat on Monday, while the pound rose 0.5% against the euro after Prime Minister Theresa May said she will trigger Article 50 next Wednesday.
By triggering Article 50, the UK government will formally start negotiations over its exit from the European Union.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Hikma (HIK) were the biggest blue-chip fallers as they decline by 1.7% and 1.6% respectively.
West Texas Intermediate declined 0.7% to $48.45 and Brent crude oil was stable at $51.75 per barrel, respectively.
Gold nudged higher to $1,231 per ounce and copper cheapened 1.2% to $5,842 per tonne.
Stock markets on Wall Street failed to move in either direction on Monday after FBI director James Comey confirmed an investigation into alleged Russian involvement in the US election last year.
In Asia, the markets were subdued as Japan was closed for a public holiday on Monday. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong closed 0.8% higher, while Shanghai’s SSE Composite made smaller gains of 0.4%.
FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS
Mobile telecoms giant Vodafone (VOD) sealed a $23bn deal to merge its Indian unit with rival Idea Cellular, which will create one of the world’s largest mobile companies.
FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS
Shares in facilities manager Carillion (CLLN) were flat despite winning a £90m contract from the UK Defence Infrastructure Organisation to design and build a communications centre in Cyprus. The company said construction will begin in April and is expected to be completed by the end of January 2019.
Hansteen (HSTN) was 2% higher after agreeing to dispose of its German and Dutch portfolios for €1.28bn to entities owned by funds advised by affiliates of The Blackstone Group and M7 Real Estate.
SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS
Virtual reality music content specialist EVR Holdings (EVRH) entered an agreement with heavyweight record company Universal Music. The good news struck a chord with investors as the stock rallied by 7.9%. The worldwide, multi-year agreement, licensed the creation and distribution of virtual reality content featuring Universal’s artists.
Supercapacitor designer CAP-XX (CPX) plummeted 19% after revealing first half revenue was down 18% year-on-year. The company, whose products are intended to extend the performance of batteries, blamed a disruption to the supply of key raw materials.
Micro-cap software business BOS Global (BOS) signed a conditional agreement to acquire a 40% interest in Australian peer Call Design. The stock gained 5%.
South African miner Bushveld Minerals (BMN) soared 23.6% as it moved a step closer to buying the Strategic Minerals business from larger peer Evraz (EVR). The company received $3m in financing from Wogen Resources. Management said the $17.2m deal to acquire Strategic Minerals is expected to complete at the end of March.
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