StockMarketWire.com - A rally in BP (BP.) shares and a sharp drop in the value of the pound against the euro and dollar helped the blue chip index to advance 0.4% to 7,017.

BP was up 1.7% to 495p.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil slid 1.2% lower to $49.93 and Brent crude oil fell 1.4% to $50.75 per barrel, respectively.

Copper rallied 2.5% to $4,717 per tonne and gold was up 0.5% to $1,268 per ounce.

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index fell in October to 98.6, down from 103.5 in September.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

Anglo American (AAL) reported a 4% increase in diamond production to 6.3m carats in the third quarter to 30 September compared to the same period in 2015 when production was reduced due to trading conditions. The miner traded 4.5% higher at £11.14.

Shares in wealth manager St James's Place (STJ) nudged higher after reporting a third quarter assets rise of 8.9% due to market gains and robust demand for its advice in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Costa Coffee owner Whitbread (WTB) slumped 3.7% to £37 despite first half profit rising slightly ahead of expectations and a 5% hike in the dividend. Investors may be cautious thanks to a reference to 'uncertainty in the UK economic outlook' and nervous of rising costs.

Aerospace engineer GKN (GKN) was in negative territory following downbeat guidance in a third quarter update. 'In line with the global outlook, we see growth rates easing in our major markets, said chief executive Nigel Stein.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

Coach operator National Express (NEX) accelerated over 3% as operating profit climbed 9% in the third quarter with a strong contribution from its overseas businesses.

Shares in life insurer Phoenix (PHNX) advanced 3.9% to 755.5p after an initial fall, following a £735m rights issue to fund the acquisition of Abbey Life, which traded ex-rights.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Development company Xcite Energy's (XEL) shares were suspended from trading on AIM. Its bondholders rejected a repayment plan and asked for a liquidator to be appointed for the firm.

M.P Evans (MPE) confirmed it received a takeover offer from KLK, which was rejected by the board as it undervalued the company, causing the stock to soar 43% to 610p.

Investors checked into specialist travel agent On The Beach (OTB) after the company said underlying pre-tax profit will be slightly ahead of the top end of market expectations in the year to 30 September.

Budget footwear chain Shoe Zone (SHOE) put its best foot forwards as a positive year end trading update triggered a stock rise of 15% to 164p. It traded well in the second half of the year, seeing little impact from the EU referendum, and said it expects to report annual pre-tax profit 'marginally ahead' compared to the prior year.

Pharmaceutical products manufacturer Beximo (BXP) got a welcome shot in the arm after receiving UD Food and Drug Administration approval for Sotalol Hydrochloride, a generic version of the cardiovascular drug Betapace.

Oil and gas exploration firm Pantheon Resources (PANR) said its operator drilled the VOBM#3 onshore east Texas to a depth of 14,500ft and will pursue a vertical completion. Data suggested a potentially significant reservoir in the primary target the Eagle Ford/Woodbine sandstone.


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