Blue chips struggle against sterling rally

The blue chip index suffered as the stronger pound hit overseas earners with Unilever (ULVR), Severn Trent (SVT) and Carnival (CCL) falling between 1.9% and 3.7%.

The FTSE 100 closed 0.4% lower.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil rallied 3.9% to $51.39 and Brent crude oil jumped 4.2% to $54 per barrel, respectively.

Gold dropped 0.3% to $1,166 per ounce and copper gained 0.7% to $5,820 per tonne.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

Airline Wizz Air's (WIZZ) costs will be heavily impacted by higher oil prices, but it rose 3.6% due to a bullish call by analysts at investment bank Goldman Sachs with a 'buy' rating,

Broadband provider Talk Talk (TALK) traded 4.5% lower at 152.5p after a broker downgrade from JP Morgan Cazenove.

Outsourcer Serco (SRP) reported trading profit in 2016 is likely to be in line with expectations at £80m though profit might dip in 2017. Turnaround initiatives should return the business to top-line growth in 2018.

Progress was underlined with a £600m cleaning and domestic services contract with Barts Health NHS Trust, England's largest NHS trust.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Mercom Capital (MCC) received a revised investment proposal from Calvet International, which included cash fundraising of £ at 20p per share from new investors. The stock rallied 31.3% to 19.7p.

Mobile Streams (MOS) raised £1.6m to finance the company's growth and for marketing over the next financial year.

Formation (FRM) announced it will cancel its listing on AIM and apply to float on the ISDX growth market, causing a share price crash of 41.7%.

Recruiter InterQuest (ITQ) disappointed investors after announcing a restructure of its digital division following lower than expected work volumes.