Barclays aids FTSE recovery

The FTSE 100 was stabilised by Barclays (BARC), which was 1.9% higher after Investec upgraded its rating from 'hold' to 'buy'.

National Grid (NG.) and Compass (CPG) also gained up to 1.6%.

The blue chip index was in the red earlier after Reckitt Benckiser (RB.) revealed a slowdown in sales, while the FTSE 250 recovered some ground following a profit warning from tech outfit Laird (LRD).

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) jumped 2.9% to $51.75 and Brent crude oil was up 2.3% to 52.90 per barrel, respectively.

Gold gained 0.8% to $1,271 per ounce, while copper cheapened 0.6% to $4,585 per tonne.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

Consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser (RB.) was one of the biggest fallers, declining 2.6% to £71.33 as investors questioned whether it can hit full year expectations. A third quarter update showed net revenue growth slowed to 2%, lower than the performance in the first half of its financial year.

Builders' merchant Travis Perkins (TPK) slumped 5.2% to £14.11 on plans to close 30 branches and incur £50m of one-off costs in a supply chain efficiencies programme. Chief executive John Carter said it was still too early to predict demand in 2017. Sector peer Grafton (GFTU) also fell 2% to 512.5p.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

Laird (LRD) was cut off by investors as weak smartphone sales led to lowered profit guidance, which sent shares crashing 48% lower to 158.4p. It said its expects underlying pre-tax profit to be around £50m, down from analyst estimates. The update is another blow to the firm after chief executive David Lockwood agreed to depart for defence outfit Cobham (COB) in August.

Pest control Rentokil (RTO) was in positive territory after reporting revenue from on-going operations climbed 16.6% in the third quarter, which was driven by acquisitions and organic growth.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Kazakhstan-based Roxi Petroleum (RXP) confirmed that five oil-bearing intervals were identified for testing at well 141, boosting its shares by 16.2% to 10.31p.

Iona Environmental (ION1) said it conditionally agreed to sell its investments in JFS Home Biogas, JFS Howla Hay Biogas and JFS Wray House Bio to Iona Environmental Infrastructure.

Investors revealed a sweet spot for Hotel Chocolat (HOTC) as better than expected full year results triggered a 3.3% rise to 235p. Pre-tax profit soared 181% to £8.2m in the year to 26 June.

AIM-listed investment firm Cluff Natural Resources (CLNR) soared 23.6% on the revelation of estimated gas in place on its P2248 licence in the range of 760 billion cubic feet to 7.2 trillion cubic feet.

Highland Natural Resources (HNR) said recent analysis of DT Ultravert suggested it was a solution for protecting existing wells from damage and enhancing well productivity, causing the stock to trade nearly 31% higher.

Software provider OneView (ONEV) fell 28.5% on lower revenue expectations for the year, as a result of delays in some major pipeline contracts.

Vehicle retailer Motorpoint (MOTR) disappointed investors following a downbeat trading update, which revealed its volume and margin performance in the first half of the year was below expectations due to the Brexit vote. Shares plummeted 25.7% to 124p.