Mortgage data and commodity price weakness keeps FTSE in the red

The FTSE 100 closed 0.2% lower as a decline in mortgage lending concerned investors and resource stocks soured.

A downbeat report from the Council of Mortgage Lenders said new gross mortgage lending fell 5% to £20.6bn. That was weaker than the forecast 0.4% decline and caused investor jitters over banking stocks.

Standard Chartered (STAN) dropped by over 2% and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Lloyds (LLOY) suffered smaller losses on the stock market.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) slumped 0.4% to $45.24 and Brent crude oil slipped lower to $46.44 per barrel, respectively.

Copper was 0.2% down at $5,467 per tonne.

Gold continued to fall and dragged down shares in precious metal miners. Approximately $100 had been shaved off the gold price since early November.

Fresnillo (FRES), Randgold Resources (RRS), Centamin (CEY) all fell by up to 7% in response to the gold price decline.

Diversified miners Glencore (GLEN) and BHP Billiton (BLT) fell by 1.8%.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

Industrial group Electrocomponents (ECM) was up 22% at 451.4p on a solid set of half year results showing a return of growth in the US and Asia. While headline revenues were largely flat, profits rallied strongly on a combination of operating efficiencies and lower one-off costs.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Higher volumes in India helped support services firm CPP (CPP) trade strong in the early part of its second half, prompting a likely forecast-busting performance for the full year for operating profits. The news triggered substantial investor interest, sparking a 71% leap in the share price to 9.25p.

Food ingredient seller Provexis (PXS) announced its partner DSM Nutritional Products entered a strategic collaboration agreement with By-Health to develop new products that contribute to cardiovascular health. The stock soared 27% to 0.59p.

Tech tools provider Oxford Instruments (OXIG) disposed of Oxford Instruments Superconducting Wire to Bruker Energy and Supercon Technologies for $17.5m in cash.

Oil services firm Cape (CIU) revealed slower projects and softened demand in the Middle East as oil prices remained low. The company said it expected to trade slightly better than market expectations, but this was offset by litigation concerns. It also said it was compelled to put an extra £9.7m aside as the threat of legal action due to industrial health claims by workers rose. That dragged the shares down 16.6% to 156.5p.

British luxury brand Jimmy Choo (CHOO) put its best foot forward with a strong trading update as revenue growth increased through new store openings and improved retail trading in the second half.