- The latest employment data failed to boost the stock market, despite UK unemployment falling to 4.6%, down from 5.1% a year earlier, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The blue-chip index was flat at 7,524 as property and housebuilder stocks acted as a headwind.

Stronger banking and consumer stocks, including Lloyds (LLOY) and Nurofen owner Reckitt Benckiser (RB.), failed to move the FTSE 100 higher.

Brent crude oil advanced 0.6% to $52 per barrel and gold glittered at $1,241 per ounce.

Copper was stable at $5,599 per tonne.


In the US on Tuesday, the stock markets were flat as investors were worried about the latest allegations against US President Donald Trump. Media reports alleged Trump asked former FBI director James Comey to end an investigation into the president's previous national security advisor Michael Flynn.

In Asia, the stock markets followed the downbeat lead from the US on Wednesday.


Property investor British Land (BLND) warned it was operating in an uncertain environment, which investors focused on instead of a 7% increase in profit to £390m in the year to March. The stock fell 2.8% to 655p.

British Gas owner Centrica (CNA) reported full year pre-tax profit nearly doubled from £593.3m in 2015/16 to £1.78bn. A reminder of the challenges it faced dragged the shares failed to unnerve investors at the stock was relatively unmoved at 193p.

The UK government sold its remaining stake in high street bank Lloyds and returning it to full private ownership, prompting the stock to rise 3.2% to 72.4p.


Homebuilder Countryside (CSP) pleased the market with a strong performance in its six months to the end of March and expectations that it would beat market forecasts, triggering a 1.7% rise to 297p.

Harvester owner Mitchell & Butlers (MAB) fell short of expectations as its first half pre-tax profit declined from £83m a year ago to £75m, causing the stock to slump 5% to 261.1p.


Estate agent Foxtons (FOXT) said revenue fell from £38.4m in the first quarter of 2016 to £28.7m over the same period this year as the stamp duty prompted a surge in sales. It was marked 6% lower.

Shares in Proxama (PROX) plummeted by 24.6% after its strategic review found the company was the best owner of its digital payments division. It plans to significantly reduce the division's cost base and use high-margin cash flow it generates for the working capital requirements of its two other divisions.

Thread manufacturer Coats Group (COA) reported sales rose by 5% in the first four months of 2017. It revealed that its 3% organic growth was driven by stronger than anticipated performance in the industrial division.

Record quarter sales and an upbeat outlook at Zotefoams (ZTF) pushed it 7.3% higher to 311p. The materials specialist said its new US facility will open by the fourth quarter this year, which would boost global capacity by a fifth.

Recent 'ransomware' attacks worldwide put cyber security business Sophos (SOPH) in demand, which was 11% higher at 411p. Its latest results unveiled strong cash flow growth, increased earnings and a confidence in further growth in the future.

Logistics group Wincanton (WIN) revealed better than expected operating profit and an improved net debt position. Shares in the firm sparked 7% to 293.6p on the news.

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