StockMarketWire.com - The FTSE 100 struggled to gain positive momentum as investors anticipated the first hike in US interest rates in a year later on Wednesday.

Smirnoff vodka owner Diageo (DGE) retreated 0.9%, while Barclays (BARC) slumped 3.6% on broker downgrades.

West Texas Intermediate slid 1.6% lower to $52 and Brent crude oil retreated 1.2% to $55 per barrel, respectively.

Gold glittered at $1,161 per ounce and copper was stable at $5,643 per tonne.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

Software developer Micro Focus (MCRO) was one of the biggest blue chip risers on its half year results, which revealed a 14.2% jump in revenue to $684.7m. The stock advanced 4.4% to £22.23.

Investors overlooked pre-tax profit growth at electrical retailer Dixons Carphone (DC.) as it warned that uncertainty after the Brexit vote may impact its ability to operate across its European businesses.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

A bidding war emerged for Punch Taverns (PUB) after it revealed approaches from both Heineken and entrepreneur Alan McIntosh, gaining 38.8% to 178.3p.

China Africa Resources (CAF) disposed of its sole interest in the Berg Aukas project and said it will seek a reverse takeover in the energy metals and minerals sector. The stock declined 21.4%.

Biological products provider Plant Health Care (PHC) announced four new commercial distribution arrangements, causing its share price to rocket 37% higher.

Cyber security services firm ECSC (ECSC) traded 20% higher at 204p on its first day of trading on AIM.

Engineering group TP (TPG) sparked 22% higher on expectations that it will significantly exceed current market expectations concerning earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation.

Mobile enterprise solutions developer Crimson Tide (TIDE) pleased investors with an upbeat trading update that expects pre-tax profit to more than double in the year to 31 December.

Diagnostics devices company Sphere Medical (SPHR) launched Proxima 4 in Europe, which is used for measuring blood gases, electrolytes and metabolites. The stock rose 13.8% to 10.10p.

Exploration firm Amur Minerals (AMC) gained 3.2% to 9.4p on anticipation of a resource update in 2017 for its Maly Kurumkon / Flangovy deposit. It reported the update may provide 'multiple improvements'.

Holographic display provider MediaZest (MDZ) plummeted 17% after it announced that improved full year results to 31 March 2017 is subject to the delivery of specific key projects.

Online fashion retailer Boohoo.com (BOO) stepped 9% higher on a stronger trading performance. The company reported that it expects revenue growth of between 38% and 42% in full year 2017.

Gold explorer Orogen Gold (ORE) suffered a 11% fall on a disappointing update on its Mutsk gold deposit. It said the shallow zone in this area was heavily weathered with some core loss and gold may have been washed out during the drilling process.

Global finance firm Burford Capital (BUR) entered an agreement to acquire GKC for $160m, prompting a 14.6% rally in its share price.

Tethyan Resources (TETH) completed four diamond drill holes for a total of 2,318 meters on the Rudnitza copper-gold porphyry prospect within the Suva Ruda exploration in Serbia.


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