FTSE flat on defensives

The blue chip index was flat on weakness in defensive stocks such as utilities and consumer staples businesses.

National Grid (NG.) slumped 0.7%, while the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) fell 0.9%.

The property sector was in focus again as estate agents responded to the Government's decision to clampdown on lettings fees.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Brent crude oil were flat at $48 and $49, respectively.

Gold fell 1.9% to $1,189 per ounce and copper rallied 1.9% to $5,864 per tonne.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

Shares in miner Rio Tinto (RIO) were unchanged despite it outlining plans to generate $5bn of additional free cash flow over the next five years through a new productivity drive.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

A mild profit warning sent estate agent Countrywide (CWD) down 12.6% to 169.5p. It said it expects transaction volumes to be down both this year and in 2017.

The market was disappointed with softer than expected revenues at Dublin-based UDG Healthcare (UDG) as the stock traded 6.7% lower at 614.5p.

A more aggressive expansion plan fattened Domino's Pizza (DOM) 2.1% to 336.95p. The pizza franchise reported it will increase its long term target for UK stores to 1,600 sites and said it expects to have 950 operational branches by the end of the year.

Investors felt they were barking up the wrong tree at Pets at Home (PETS) due to softer trading, as the stock retreated 4.7% to 222.5p. The pet retailer said its profit outlook for the full year 2017 was in line with expectations.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Weatherly International (WTI) jumped 16.3% after Tschudi nameplate production rates of 1,417 tonnes per month were re-attained during October, which was two months earlier than forecast.

Belvoir Lettings (BLV) declined 8.3% to 110p as it reported the proposed changes on industry fees will hit its gross profit by no more than 8%.

Purplebricks (PURP) was a rare riser in the sector after reassuring the market the new tenant fee structure at the Autumn Statement will not have any meaningful impact on its business.

Investors were disappointed with retailer Mothercare's (MTC) half year results, which revealed profit after tax fell from £7m to £5.9m in the 28 weeks to 8 October. The firm blamed unseasonable weather for stalled sales and margin growth.

Insurance holding company Chesnara (CSN) said it will buy a Dutch subsidiary of Legal & General (LGEN) for €160m (£135.6m) to expand its life and pensions business.

Vet operator CVS (CVSG) received a shot in the arm as underlying profitability for the four months to 31 October was ahead of the board's expectations.