FTSE flat after disappointing house prices data

The FTSE 100 was subdued on Monday as weaker housebuilders offset rising banks.

House price growth slowed from 2.3% in October and November to 1.3% growth in the quarter to December as building activity, completed sales and mortgage approvals were flat.

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey (TW.) dropped 1.2% to 208.6p, followed by Barratt Developments (BDEV) and Persimmon (PSN).

The FTSE 100 nudged 1.5 points higher to 7,725.

Brent crude oil was up 0.4% to $67.90 per barrel. Copper was stable at $3.21 per pound and gold retreated 0.4% to $1,315 per ounce.

DECLINE IN CONSUMER SPENDING

Visa UK's latest data for 2017 showed the first annual decline in consumer spending in five years ahead of a raft of retail Christmas trading updates later this week.

The biggest news emerged from babywear retailer Mothercare (MTC), which revealed another profit warning on the back of disappointing Christmas trading.

UK like-for-like sales fell 7.2% in the 12 weeks to 30 December due to lower footfall and website traffic. The retailer lost a quarter of its market value as full year profit was expected to drop from £11.9m to between £1m and £5m. The shares fall by a quarter to 46.6p.

MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Micro Focus (MCRO) shocked investors after the software giant's half year results failed to meet expectations. Shares in the company crashed 16.5% to £22.55.

TP ICAP (TCAP) was flat at 531p following the acquisition of US-based SCS Commodities to expand the firm's specialist execution expertise.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Diamond producer Gem Diamonds (GEMD) recovered high quality 117 and 110 carat diamonds from its Letseng mine, helping the shares gain 5.2% to 80.5p.

LED lighting tech specialist Dialight (DIA) appointed Marty Rapp as its new chief executive officer, replacing Michael Sutsko. The stock advanced 4.7% to 576p.

McBride (MCB) warned full year adjusted profit before tax would be flat due to weak trading in its European personal care and aerosols division, cost inflation and operational requirements. Its shares slumped 12.4% to 194.8p.

On AIM, pawnbroker H&T (HAT) reported that it anticipates full year profits will beat expectations thanks to a strong fourth quarter. Investors marked the stock 4.1% higher to 340p on the good news.

Wealth management services provider Mattioli Woods (MTW) rose 1% to 785p thanks to encouraging year-on-year sales growth of approximately 16%.

Broker FinnCap believes US tax reforms will boost earnings at Somero (SOM) significantly. Earnings per share forecasts were upgraded by 19.7% to 34.4c for 2018. This failed to spark the share price at 329.2p.

Engineering materials group Versarien (VRS) rallied 7.7% to 67.8p on a collaboration agreement with a global textiles and apparel manufacturer.