StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks slipped into a small loss in the afternoon as oil stocks gave back earlier gains after a Reuters report said Saudi Arabia's crude production could be fully back on-line within weeks.

At 16:30, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 2.5 points, or 0.03%, at 7,318.91.

Sirius Minerals plummeted 53% to 4.7p after it admitted that it wasn't likely to get a delayed $500m bond offering away due to market uncertainty, forcing it to slow the development of its flagship fertilizer project in Yorkshire.

Online grocery retailer Ocado closed down 0.5p to £13.49 after reporting 11.4% growth in third-quarter retail sales, putting it on track to meet its full-year guidance of 10-15% growth.

Struggling fashion chain French Connection slumped 14% to £32.56 as it booked another loss and said it had extended a strategic review process again after failing to attract a takeover bid.

Recruitment and training group Staffline tumbled 23% to 119.31p after it swung to a first-half loss, pinned on the delayed publication of its 2018 results and a challenging trading environment.

Employee services company Personal Group fell 6% to 358p, even as it posted a 5.6% rise in first-half profit, though it also said new sales had been slower than expected.

Specialist defence contractor TP gained 0.9% to 6.76p, having won an order to provide oxygen-generating devices to the UK defence ministry.

Remote meetings company LoopUp dropped 31.4% to 70p, despite reporting a rise in first-half adjusted profit, as it also downgraded its annual guidance citing a challenging economic environment.


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