- There was little for investors to get excited about from the Budget delivered by Chancellor Phillip Hammond earlier today.

The biggest news was that dividend allowances were more than halved from £5,000 to £2,000. It means investors have a lower tax-free allowance outside of their ISA or SIPP.

High street banks Lloyds (LLOY) and Barclays (BARC) and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) remained among the top risers with gains between 0.6% and 2.3%.

Weaker oil prices hit Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) by 1.2%, which acted as a drag on the index.

West Intermediate and Brent crude oil slid over 1.5% lower to $52 and $55 per barrel, respectively.

Gold cheapened 0.5% to $1,208 per ounce and copper declined 0.4% to $5,732 per tonne.


Positive employment data boosted the US dollar, but failed to have much impact on US stock.

Japan's economy grew faster than expected in its fourth quarter, but this didn't stop the Nikkei 224 declining 0.5% on Wednesday as investors were cautious ahead of the Federal Reserve meeting this month.

Shanghai's SSE Composite index closed flat, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng bucked the trend and rose 0.4%.


Car insurer Admiral (ADM) used its full year results to fully quantify the impact of changes to the Ogden rate. The rate, used to calculate compensation payments for victims of car accidents, is being cut from 2.5% to -0.75%. Profit would have been up 3% without the change, but ended up falling by a quarter for 2016. The shares nudged higher to £18.29.


Funeral provider Dignity (DTY) slumped by 17% to £22.96 as alongside otherwise solid 2016 results it revises down its underlying earnings growth target from 10% a year to 8%. The change reflects the increased size of the group and growing competition.

Frankie & Benny's owner Restaurant Group (RTN) rose 13.2% as investors warmed to its turnaround story. The company left its full year dividend unchanged despite an 11.2% drop in adjusted pre-tax profit for 2016 and falling like-for-like sales.


Israeli tailoring firm Bagir (BAGR) jumped 42% as it swung into profit, posting earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $1.6m for 2016.

Small cap oil and gas company Europa Oil & Gas (EOG) sealed a farm-out agreement with a subsidiary of Cairn Energy regarding a 70% interest in operating Licensing Option 16/19 offshore Ireland.

Europa will retain a 30% interest in the license. The market was excited about the deal as the stock sparked 21% higher.

Solo Oil (SOLO) confirmed the Ntorya-2 appraisal well was successfully flow tested and was suspended for future gas production. However, flow rates were restricted for technical reasons, prompting an 21.7% drop in the share price.

Aminex (AEX), which has a 75% interest in the Mtwara license in Tanzania where Ntorya-2 was drilled, also fell 17.5%.

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