- Chancellor Phillip Hammond said real wage growth would start rising by the first quarter of 2019, reigniting fears interest rates will increase this year and boost borrowing costs for companies.

Strength in sterling against the dollar was bad for the FTSE as around 70% of the earnings generated by its constituents come from overseas.

The FTSE 100 was down more than 1% at 7,138.


Wall Street was subdued with the Dow Jones enjoying the biggest rise of 0.2% to 25,222 around 3:30pm as investors digested news that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was fired by President Donald Trump and inflation figures which were in line with forecasts.


Miner Antofagasta (ANTO) benefitted from higher metal prices after its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation increased 59.1% to $2.6bn in the year to 31 December. Its shares rose 3% to 914.6p.

Convenience food business Greencore (GNC) crashed 29.7% to 128.4p following a warning that US profit growth is expected to decline in the year to 30 September 2018.

Cairn Energy (CNE) revealed successful development on its Senegal oil fields and first oil production from its North Sea operations, amid waning risk appetite the shares fell 8.4% to 193.1p by the close.

TP ICAP (TCAP) said statutory pre-tax profit more than halved from £167m to £72m in 2017, dragging the stock 9.2% lower to 489.6p.

Difficulties in France this year hit computer services firm Computacenter (CCC) causing the shares to fall 8.5% to £10.30.


Tonic water business Fevertree (FEVR) lost its fizz, down 3.4% at £25.99, after its profit margin fell slightly from 55.2% in 2016 to 53.5%.

Fashion retailer French Connection (FCCN) was in the spotlight, rallying 24.6% to 42p after its full year results to 31 January 2018 implied a change in fortunes. Sales at the company were up 0.5% to £157m, which was better than a 6.7% decline in the previous year.

Cellular material tech specialist Zotefoams (ZTF) delivered another record year for sales and profits in 2017, boosting the shares by 6.1% to 500p. Shares in Minoan (MIN) catapulted 30.5% to 6.85p on news it should be debt-free after selling its travel and leisure division, as well as signs of recovery in the Greek property market.

Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals (HEMO) rose 4.6% to 3.21p, paring earlier more significant gains, as it entered a collaboration with a major biotech firm in a deal worth up to $250,000.

Pawnbroker H&T (HAT) reported pre-tax profit jumped 32.1% to £14.1m and its personal loan book nearly doubled, although the shares closed flat at 352p. Investors were in profit taking mode at audio visual support services firm

Midwich (MIDW), which was down 4.2% at 569.9p. Pre-tax profit surged 56.2% to £18.9m in 2017. Story provided by