StockMarketWire.com - The FTSE 100 struggled to gain momentum as corporate news was thin on the ground ahead of the Christmas holidays. There was little to distract investors from concerns over US interest rate hikes, the US-China trade war and a potential no-deal Brexit.

At around midday, the blue-chip index dipped 0.3% to 6,691.

Brent crude oil slipped 1.5% to $53.53 per barrel.

MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

According to media reports, British Gas owner Centrica is considering a legal challenge against upcoming UK energy price caps on concerns the way the cap has been circulated is unfair. Shares in Centrica were broadly unmoved at 135.7p.

Plastics firm RPC revealed potential suitor Apollo Global Management needed yet more time to decide on whether to make a firm bid for the company. Shares in the company dipped 0.5% to 666p as discussions with Apollo were 'well advanced'.

Vodafone confirmed it was looking for a new auditor, after deciding to replace PricewaterhouseCoopers amid a legal dispute over the collapse of phone retailer Phones 4U, causing the shares to slip 1.3% to 157.8p.

Anglo American strengthened 1.5% to £17.29 after announcing it has resumed operations at its Minas-Rio iron ore operation in Brazil following pipeline repairs.

Alcoholic drinks group Diageo completed the sale of a portfolio of nineteen brands to Sazerac for $550m. Its shares dipped 0.4% on the news.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Shares in CSF Group crashed 28% on to 0.9p after failing to appoint a new nominated advisor. Shares in the company are due to be suspended on 2 January and could be kicked off AIM if it fails to find a new advisor soon.

Pesticides supplier Plant Health Care plummeted 29.8% to 6.9p on a warning annual sales may be 'substantially' below market expectations following a drought in South Africa and a delayed shipment to Brazil.

Marlowe gained 2.4% to 410.7p on the acquisition of property-related health and safety group William Martin Compliance Solutions for £30m. It also launched a £7m share issue to help fund the deal.

There was bad news from public sector services supplier Interserve, down 2.7% at 10.5p, as it revealed the scale of its debt-for-equity deleveraging plans to try and drive down debt. The company warned issuing new equity may result in 'material dilution' for current shareholders.

Healthcare computer software group Craneware jumped 6.7% after saying it was confident of meeting annual market expectations amid continued sales momentum and high levels of revenue visibility.

Shares in Range Resources went in the opposite directing, falling 20% on the news that a $2.8m payment it was owed by LandOcean Energy Services had been delayed for up to six months.


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