StockMarketWire | 17/10/2017 - 22:00
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The FTSE 100 drifted lower to 7,516 despite a dip in the value of sterling against the dollar after the Bank of England was vague on the prospects of an interest rate hike next month following further inflation.

As approximately 70% of FTSE constituents generate earnings overseas, a weaker pound would have a beneficial effect on earnings.

UK inflation rose to 3% in September, its highest level in more than five years, driven by higher prices for food and recreational goods according to the Office for National Statistics.

Among the blue chip winners were utility firms Severn Trent (SVT) and United Utilities (UU.), up 1.9% and 1.8%. National Grid (NG.) also rose 1.1% to 926p.

Brent crude oil slid 1% to $57.26 per barrel. Copper and gold declined 1.3% each to $3.18 per pound and $1,283

OVERSEAS MARKETS

Investor sentiment was subdued despite strong results from banking giants Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. On Tuesday, the Dow Jones was flat at 22,968.

MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Alton Towers owner Merlin Entertainments (MERL) slumped 17% to 372.9p after like-for-like sales growth slipped to 0.3% in the third quarter as the threat of terror attacks and wet weather deterred customers.

In the mining sector, investors overlooked Rio Tinto's (RIO) downgraded annual copper production guidance as the shares advanced 0.2% to £37.24. The miner also reported higher third-quarter production of iron ore and coking coal.

Price comparison website Moneysupermarket.com (MONY) said revenue grew by 6% in the third quarter and reiterated its confidence in meeting full year expectations. Despite the positive update, the stock retreated 0.7% to 316.3p.

Private hospital operator Mediclinic (MDC) revealed first half patient volumes declined in Switzerland and Southern Africa, blaming the timing of Easter for the fall. The stock slipped 1.4% to 665.5p.

Housebuilder Bellway (BWY) announced pre-tax profits increased by 12.6% to £560.7m in the year to the end of July and hiked its dividend by 13%, helping the stock gain 0.8% to £35.31.

A rise in mortgage balances in the third quarter sparked Virgin Money (VM.) 5.1% higher to 303.4p. The credit card provider also reaffirmed its full-year guidance.

The market was not impressed by budget airline easyJet's (EZJ) 'expression of interest' in some of Alitalia's assets as the shares were broadly unmoved at £12.94.

Education business Pearson (PSON) was 7% higher at 664.8p after lifting full year profit guidance.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Shareholders at nightclub operator Revolution Bars (RBG) rejected a takeover by Stonegate Pub Company, causing the stock to fall 8.2% to 171.7p. The company said it would focus on running the business, especially the important Christmas trading period.

Online fashion retailer Asos (ASC) delivered strong annual sales growth of 34% and achieved record profit. The shares rose 1.7% to £57.96 in response.

British model railway brand Hornby (HRN) issued yet another profit warning after deciding it would no longer offer large quantities of stock at a discount, but an already bombed out share price nudged down 2.8% to 33.9p.