StockMarketWire.com - FTSE oil stocks were under the cosh as the price of the black liquid tumbled following Saudi Arabia's decision to cut prices for crude sold to the US, but hike those to Asian customers. The blue-chip index was mildly weaker, while the mid cap was a jot firmer.

Near noon, the FTSE 100 was down 8.96 points, or 0.14%, to 6479.01. FTSE 250 was up 11.97 points, or 0.08%, to 15,465.1. Oil stocks hurt, led by Cairn Energy (CNE), down 4.32% to 141.9p, and followed by Shell (RDSA) and BP (BP.). FTSE 350 indices for the oil & gas sector were down more than 2%.

These oily issues offset upbeat corporate news flow elsewhere among the top 100 listed stocks. Man Group (EMG) rose 3.69% to 127.95 as data indicated its AHL semi-automated quant fund had a strong three days and would start paying extra fees, allaying earlier concerns.

Legal & General (LGEN) rose 1.93% to 235.05p on growing its revenues, operating profit, customers and net cash in Q3. Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) added 3.49% to 2760p on reporting pretax profit up 25% to £1.5bn and a 7% rise in core brands volume.

Associated British Foods (ABF) added 2.28% to 2732p as better-than-expected FY results -- led by a bumper performance by its Primark chain -- pleased.

BIGGER MOVERS

TT Electronics (TTG) expects its FY performance to be at the lower end of expectations and -- taking into account its underlying performance for 2014 -- that it will be materially lower in 2015. Its shares cliff dived 30.54% to 112.88p.

Physiomics (PYC) added 28% to 0.16p on confirming top-five pharma company Merck & Co. is a customer.

Top Creation Investments (TOPC), down 14.29% to 0.3p, expects to receive outstanding funds for the sale of Lot 129, being RM7.0m within the next three weeks.

Touchstone Gold (TGL) said it has successfully concluded an investment in accordance with its investment policy, acquiring in-administration security specialist GOS Systems. Its shares fell 10.34% to 0.39p.

Trapoil (TRAP) will have reduced its overhead costs to an estimated run rate of less than £1.5m a year from Jan. 1, 2015. Its shares rose 19.38% to 3.88p.

ECONOMIC NEWS

In Europe, the euro zone's economy is expected to grow just 0.8% this year, the European Commission said. This growth was below the well below the 1.2% estimated earlier in 2014. The commission also cut its 2015 growth outlook to 1.1%, from 1.7%.

Meantime, produce price inflation (PPI) in the 18-country bloc tiptoed up a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in September, above forecasts for a rise of 0.1%.

In Blighty, the Markit/CIPS UK construction Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) slipped to 61.4 in October, from September's 64.2. Forecasts were for a print of 63.5.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Spirit Pub Company (SPRT) edged up 1.06% to 108.13p as it received a firm buyout offer from Greene King (GNK), up 0.52% to 317.75p. The £773.6m takeover bid comes in response to pressure from rival suitor C&C (CCR), which rose 1.66% to 3.67p.

Persimmon (PSN) said as a result of the continued disciplined growth of the business it expects a substantial level of cash holding by the year end, even after allowing for the on-going significant investment in land and work in progress. Its shares rose 0.41% to 1464p.

Rare Earth Minerals (REM) said a significant drilling programme -- a five-fold increason on the last stage of drilling -- will shortly commence on the Sonora Lithium Project in Mexico. its shares rose 0.88% to 1.14p.

The Unite Group (UTG), up 1.83% to 434.1p, said it continues to perform strongly in all areas. Demand for its accommodation remains very high resulting in 99% occupancy and strong like-for-like rental growth across the portfolio. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com