FTSE falls on first day of trading in 2018

It was a downbeat start to the New Year for UK stocks as the FTSE 100 was trading 0.4% lower at 7,653 around midday.

Weakness in the mining sector weighed on performance with Rio Tinto (RIO) and Antofagasta (ANTO) both falling by up to 1.7% in value.

Insurers were also out of favour, with Admiral (ADM) down 2.2% and RSA Insurance (RSA) falling 1.3%.

Oil colossus BP (BP.) reported it would have a one-off $1.5bn charge in its fourth quarter results following a reduction in the US corporate income tax, causing the shares to dip 0.6% to 519.4p.

Brent crude oil was stable at $66.84 per barrel. Gold glittered at $1,310 per ounce and copper cheapened 0.8% to $3.25 per pound.

MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Shares in catering specialist Compass (CPG) retreated 14 points to £15.86 on the tragic news that CEO Richard Cousins passed away in a plane accident in Australia on New Year's Eve. Cousins was expected to retire in March. His successor Dominic Blakemore's appointment was moved forward following his unexpected death.

British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) acquired the assets of Austrian airline NIKI, which used to be part of the now-defunct Air Berlin. The company said the assets included up to 15 A320 family aircraft and slots at various airports such as Vienna, Munich and Zurich. Shares in the company rose 1.6% to 661.8p.

Banking and investment group BGEO (BGEO) announced its real estate division bought a 50% stake in a boutique hotel in Tbilisi for $4.1m, although the stock was static at £35.52.

New leadership at St James's Place (STJ) helped the firm nudge 0.2% higher to £12.29. Andrew Croft and Craig Gentle started as chief executive and chief financial officer.

A reduced stake in electrical retailer AO World (AO.) by Baron Capital Management from 4.99% to 1.39% concerned investors as the stock slipped 5.8% to 103.6p.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

On AIM, fancy cakes maker Patisserie (CAKE) sweetened 5.7% to 373.5p on media speculation that it was considering a takeover offer for Gail's Bakery. Patisserie chairman Luke Johnson owns Gail's parent firm Bread Holdings. The company was reported to be eyeing a £35m fundraise to help finance the deal.

Housebuilder Inland Homes (INL) pleased the market with a bullish outlook statement including potential for significant growth this year, driven by a record level of homes under construction and a strong pipeline. Its shares jumped 3.5% to 62.1p.

Oncimmune (ONC) set its sights on eroding lung cancer in China through a breakthrough deal with Hong Kong firm Genostics, helping its shares soar 28.6% to 135p.

Struggling mobile operator The People's Operator (TPOP) plummeted 75.7% to 0.1p after its share suspension was lifted. Last month, the company completed a heavily discounted fundraising as a last resort to keep trading.