StockMarketWire.com - The FTSE 100 struggled for direction amid a pre-holiday lull.

Banking stocks Barclays (BARC) and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) nudged lower after being hit with a combined £78m fine by the Swiss competition regulator in the aftermath of the Libor rate-rigging scandal.

HSBC (HSBA) and Lloyds (LLOY) are said to be under investigation, which unnerved investors.

West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude oil both slipped by 0.5% to $52.21 and $54.15 per barrel, respectively.

Gold was flat at $1,131 per ounce and copper cheapened 1.2% to $5,423 per tonne.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

Insurer Legal & General (LGEN) appointed former Ernst & Young man Jeff Davies as its new chief financial officer, although the news barely made an impact as shares were flat at 246p. The company reported that Davies will take up the role at some point in spring 2017. Current CFO Mark Gregory will step down at the same time.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

Car dealer Inchcape (INCH) agreed to pay £234m to acquire a Subaru-focused distribution business in South America from subsidiaries and affiliates of Empresas Indumotora. Inchcape said the acquisition will create a scale distribution platform for its operations in South America, pushing the stock 6% higher to 681.5p.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Decontamination services provider REACT (REAT) crashed 27.6% to 0.7p following the closure of its subsidiary EPUK. The subsidiary failed to deliver anticipated profitability and failed to improve over the last few months.

Video content creator EVR (EVRH) signed a virtual reality content creation and distribution agreement with Warner Music and WEA International, triggering a share price rise of 22% to 4p.

Investors dug mineral explorer Sunrise Resources (SRES) after preliminary testing at the Pozz project deposits indicated the presence of a high quality natural pozzolan. Shares in the firm climbed 12.2%.

Resource development company Savannah Resources (SAV) reported that results for its new lithium projects in Finland, Somero and Erajarvi revealed seven pegmatites with anomalous lithium.

Tool hire group HSS Hire (HSS) raised £13m through a placing to strengthen its balance sheet as it continued restructuring. It said its outlook for the year to the end of December 2016 remained unchanged but noted its restructuring programme was extended into the first quarter of 2017.

Investors were pleased that engineering group Renold (RNO) exchanged contracts for the sale of its sale in Melbourne, Australia for A$12.5m.

Drug development company ImmuPharma (IMM) was boosted 10% to 42.4p on confirmation that patient recruitment was completed, on target, within its pivotal Phase III clinical trial of Lupuzo to tackle Lupus.

Harvest Minerals (HMI) won a trial mining permit and announced the commencement of trial mining at the Maximus Prospect in Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Life sciences group Abzena (ABZA) signed a licence agreement with start-up biotech Trieza, which specialises in the discovery and development of immunomodulatory oncolytic viruses.


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