It was a quiet day for corporate news on the last day of trading ahead of the Christmas holidays, leaving the FTSE 100 struggling for direction at 7,607.
Utility stock Severn Trent (SVT) was in favour, up 1% at £21.31. British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) was among the fallers, down 1.1% at 643.2p.
Brent crude oil declined 0.2% to $64.75 per barrel.
In the US, trading was stable overnight as investor sentiment was supported by the significant US tax reforms, helping the S&P 500 close 0.2% higher at 2,684.
MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS
International packaging group Mondi (MNDI) agreed to acquire Powerflute, a division of Nordic Packaging and Container, for €365m. The shares nudged 0.6% lower to £18.73.
Gambling businesses GVC (GVC) and Ladbrokes Coral (LCL) agreed on a takeover offer by the former. Ladbrokes Coral shareholders will be entitled to 32.7p in cash, 0.141 ordinary GVC shares and a contingent entitlement of up to a further 42.8p. Shares in GVC retreated 1% and Ladbrokes was flat at 175p.
SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS
Clarity on a contract in the Middle East from Westminster Group (WSG) excited investors as the stock soared 48.3% to 13.9p. The security specialist reported the project will be completed in phases, with the initial phase expected to be worth approximately €24m per annum.
Action Hotels (AHCG) decided to delay the opening of its first hotel in Saudi Arabia due to difficult conditions in the Middle East, which concerned the market as the shares slumped 10.7% to 25p.
Mercantile Ports & Logistics (MPL) rallied 14.5% to 8.1p after entering its second binding customer contract to manage cargo at a port and logistics facility in India.
Embattled construction company Carillion (CLLN) managed to defer the test date for its financial covenants from 31 December to 30 April, which helped to reassure investors about its future. The stock advanced 5.8% to 18.2p on the news.