StockMarketWire.com - Investors were spooked by renewed hostile tensions between the US and Iran, forcing the FTSE 100 0.4% lower to 7,644 around midday.

Housebuilders and miners were among the weakest performers. Fresnillo weakened 1.3% to £11.08 and Rio Tinto fell 1.2% to £40.37.

Barratt Developments shed 2.5% to 518.8p followed by Persimmon, down 2.3% at £24.47.

Brent crude oil rose 1.7% to $74.29 per barrel.

MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Budget airline Ryanair declined 4.3% to €14.83 after revealing a 20% drop in profit after tax to €319m in the quarter to 30 June, which was affected by higher oil prices and pilot costs.

The news had a negative read-across to other UK-quoted airlines. Shares in EasyJet lost 2.3% to £15.77 and British Airways-owner International Consolidated Airlines retreated 2% to 673.2p.

Capita was down 3.3% at 159.4p on reports that the Ministry of Defence had suspended a contract award following a legal challenge by outsourcing rival Serco.

Media business Ascential fell 6.3% to 430.6p after reporting a 13.8% drop in half year pre-tax profit to £23.1m.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Shares in newsagent operator McColl's Retail slumped 11.9% to 185p as the collapse of cigarette wholesales Palmer & Harvey hit its supply chain, hitting sales and profitability. It also suffered from falling margins after a decision to cut prices to stay competitive.

The market didn't like Petra Diamonds' decision to stop issuing forward diamond price guidance, treating this as a negative event and pushing the shares 6.4% lower to 46.8p.

Financial services software supplier Microgen enjoyed robust half year results thanks to good progress in its Aptitude Software and Microgen Financial Systems arms. The stock nudged 1% higher to 389p.

Marketing communications group Mission Marketing added 7.1% to 50.9p thanks to strong organic growth and new business wins.


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