Latest market news

FTSE struggles to gain momentum as utilities fall

Stronger miners failed to offset the effect of weaker utilities as the FTSE 100 dipped 3.9 points to 7,496.

Shares in Glencore (GLEN) jumped 1.4% to 352.4p, followed by smaller gains by Fresnillo (FRES) and Randgold Resources (RRS).

British Gas owner Centrica (CNA) dimmed 3.6% to 139.5p. Utility stock Severn Trent (SVT) fell 1.6% to £20.85.

Brent crude oil slid 1.2% to $62.58 per barrel. Gold glittered at $1,243 per ounce and copper was up 0.6% at $3.02 per pound.

MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Tourism specialist TUI (TUI) beat its 10% underlying earnings target, delivering 12% growth to €1,102m in the year to 30 September. The strong performance was driven by its hotel and cruise brands. The shares eased back to £14.13 after an initial rise.

Equipment rental company Ashtead (AHT) fell 3% to £19.99 after chief executive Geoff Drabble sold 941,940 shares in the business. Other members of Ashtead's board also took profit by selling shares.

Electrical retailer Dixons Carphone (DC.) maintained its full year dividend and announced decisive action to help its mobile phone business. Investors overlooked a 65.9% drop in profit to £46m in the six months to 31 October as the shares were up 8.5% to 181.5p.

Cigarette seller British American Tobacco (BATS) drifted 0.4% lower to £50.23 despite a strong performance. The company said it expects to grow market share thanks to its global drive brands.

Energy services company Wood Group (WG.) reported the integration of Amec Foster Wheeler was progressing ahead of schedule, resulting in sustainable cost savings. The business warned the oil and gas market continued to present challenges in 2017, causing the shares to slip 7.3% to 629.5p.

Embattled support services firm Carillion (CLLN) proposed to dispose its UK healthcare facilities management business to FTSE 250 constituent Serco (SRP).

There was more good news for Serco, which upgraded profit guidance for 2017 as underlying trading profit will hit the top end of its £65m to £70m guidance range. The stock jumped 7.4% to 102.4p.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

A profit warning from window maker Safestyle (SFE) caused the shares to crash 14.2% to 164p. The company said demand for its products weakened since its last profit warning in September as sales were 6.8% lower in the quarter to 30 November than the prior year.

Microsaic Systems (MSYS) signed a research agreement extending its collaboration with a global partner in the scale up and manufacture of biopharmaceutical drugs, triggering a 157.9% rally to 2.4p.

Materials technology specialist Zotefoams (ZTF) entered a strategic partnership with Nike to develop footwear technology and supply materials for the global footwear company. Investors were excited by the news as the stock soared 14.1% to 458p.

Shares in behavioural health service provider Cambian (CMBN) reversed 9.8% to 173p after it was notified of footage from three of its facilities, which allegedly reveal 'inadequate levels of care and education.'