- Banks were weak despite Barclays (BARC) CEO Jes Staley unveiling a surprise increase in its core capital ratio, a key measure of financial strength. It rose to 12.4% compared to 11.8% anticipated by analysts.

The boost came from increased profits amid a reduction in provisions for fines and rebuilding the balance sheet. However, this didn't stop investors marking the stock 2.6% lower to 229p.

HSBC (HSBA) fell 4% while Standard Chartered (STAN) retreated by 1.2% ahead of results on Friday.

As the financial stocks are among the top constituents of the FTSE 100, it closed 0.4% lower at 7,271.

West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude oil rose 1.5% to $54.38 and $56.67 per barrel, respectively.

Gold climbed 1.5% to $1,250 per ounce, while copper fell in the other direction to $5,842 per tonne.


In the US, the stock markets were lower on Thursday despite the Federal Reserve saying it may raise interest rates soon.

Rallying oil prices failed to outweigh uncertainty concerning Trump's economic plan.

In Asia, none of the stock markets gained positive momentum as investors were put off by a US interest rate hike sooner than expected, and closed flat on Wednesday,


Cigarette colossus British American Tobacco (BATS) revealed a 12.6% hike in annual profits to £5.48bn and 10% growth in the dividend to 169.4p. Results benefitted from sterling weakness, since most of its profits are generated abroad, as well as outperformance by Global Drive Brands.

British Gas owner Centrica (CNA) failed to spark a rally as it held the full year dividend at 12p and said further debt reductions are needed before increases can be paid.

Personal insurer RSA (RSA) gained 4.8% on forecast-busting 2016 results, driven by record underwriting profits.


Engineer Morgan Advanced Materials (MGAM) jumped by 6.6% following solid full year figures including improved free cash flow. CEO Pete Raby reported he expects a tough 2017, yet operational improvements are 'creating the funds to increase R&D, strengthen selling capability and add business development resources.'

Cheap coach travel provider National Express (NEX) drove higher as operating profit rose by 11.5% from £116.1m to £185.2m.


Investors were sweet on essential oils specialist Treatt (TET) as profits for the year to September are expected to 'substantially exceed' previous expectations. Management said strong sales growth and the beneficial impact from higher product margins was behind their success.

Online gambling group Kindred Poker announced a £175.6m takeover offer for poker-focused business 32Red (TTR), causing shares in the latter to rally 16.4%.

The market was impressed with construction group Morgan Sindall's (MGNS) strong full year cash and profit performance, as well as its confident outlook statement.

Long-term savings provider Hansard Global (HSD) tumbled by nearly 10% to 100p on a drop in half year profits and a 50% cut in the dividend from the first half of 2018.

Online estate agent Purplebricks (PURP) completed an oversubscribed £50m placing of new shares to fund its US expansion.

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