- The FTSE 100 nudged 0.2% lower on a surprisingly uneventful trading day following UK Theresa May's triggering of Article 50 to start negotiations for the UK to leave the European Union.

Utility firm SSE (SSE), Natwest owner Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Ben & Jerry's owner Unilever (ULVR) were among the top blue-chip fallers.

West Texas Intermediate slipped 0.2% to $49.38 and Brent crude oil was 0.5% lower at $52 per barrel, respectively.

Gold fell 0.2% to $1,249 per ounce and copper cheapened 0.5% to $5,864 per tonne.


It was the third slowest trading day of 2017 for the US as investors weighed on economic data and considered whether US President Donald Trump would deliver on legislation reform. The Dow Jones closed 0.2% lower on Wednesday, while the S&P 500 was flat.

In Asia, the biggest loser was Shanghai's SSE Composite, which slumped 1% on Thursday. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong and Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.4% and 0.8% respectively.


Multinational tobacco seller Imperial Brands (IMB) confirmed it anticipated meeting its earnings expectations for the first half of the year in both constant currency and reported exchange rates. The stock nudged 0.3% higher to £38.39.

Medical products firm ConvaTec (CTEC) announced an expansion of its manufacturing technology platform for the insulin pump therapy business at Medtronic. The stock rose 0.2% to 273.7p.


Plastics packaging supplier RPC (RPC) revealed revenues for full year 2017 were anticipated to be significantly ahead of last year, reflecting contributions from acquisitions and continued underlying organic growth. Shares in the company declined 3.8% to 845.5p.

Bookie William Hill (WMH) was flat at 287.7p on the appointment of Worldpay (WPG) executive Ruth Prior as chief financial officer.

Electrical retailer AO World (AO.) completed a £50m placing with institutional investors. Management said the funds will underpin AO World's European growth ambitions, albeit with dilution for existing shareholders. A pre-close trading statement had a cautious outlook for the UK, where necessary price hikes due to weak sterling could crimp demand.

Miner Petra Diamonds (PDL) announced the launch of a $600m notes issue and restructuring of its debt facilities, sparking a 7.3% rise to 133p.

The UK's largest plastic pipe systems manufacturer Polypipe (PLP) improved its full year pre-tax profit to £54.4m, up 31.1% from £41.5m, in what it penned a record performance.


Shares in sofa seller DFS (DFS) were subdued at 250p despite declaring a special dividend following record results. Revenue was also up 6.8% to £379.9m in the 26 weeks to 30 January.

Food wholesaler Booker (BOK), in the middle of a mega-merger with Tesco (TSCO) retreated 0.4% to 198.3p on a positive fourth quarter trading update. Non tobacco like-for-like sales were up 4.7%, although tobacco sales tumbled 7.5% thanks to a tobacco display ban and new plain packaging restrictions.

Low-cost operator EasyHotel (EZH) slumped 2% to 85.7p on news the retrospective planning permission for its Old Street Hotel was unsuccessful.

Ncondezi Energy (NCCL) crashed 46.9% to 4.2p as it issued an update on its 300MW power plant project in northern Mozambique and the joint-development agreement with Shanghai Electic Power Company. It said it was in lending and funding talks, and had adequate cash resources to fund its activities to 10 May.

Mayan Energy (MYN) raised £600,000 through a subscription of 12 billion new shares at 0.005p each. Proceeds would be used to fund ongoing working capital and Shoats Creek Field development.

Spectra Systems (SPSY) unveiled a full year profit of $1.14m, up from $35,000, in a set of results that highlighted its profitability and continued earnings growth. Investors were excited as the stock jumped 21.4% to 44p.

Animal feed manufacturer Carr's (CARR) warned it expected its performance for the current full year to be significantly below forecasts, causing investors to run for the exit. As a result, the shares were dragged 17.6% lower to 124p.

Medical imaging firm Feedback (FDBK) rose 8.3% to 1.5p after confirming subsidiary Cambridge Computed Imaging signed a letter of intent with a leading global medical imaging company. This would make TexRAD Lung available for purchase on its diagnostic imaging solutions platform.

Genel Energy (GENL) said its full year operating losses rose to $1.22bn, up from $1.1bn last time, while revenues fell to $53.3bn from $84.9bn. Net production averaged 53,300 barrels of oil per day, at the lower end of revised guidance, but this didn't stop the stock climbing 7.5% to 62.6p.

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