- Investors reached for gold as it sought a safe haven following panic in the US over the possibility that US President Donald Trump could be impeached over the latest allegations.

Gold sharply rose by 1.8% to $1,256 per ounce before it eased back.

The call to impeach Trump was prompted by Democratic congressman Al Green.

Media reports alleged Trump asked former FBI director James Comey to end an investigation into the president's previous national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The US stock markets opened 1.3% lower on Wednesday as big banks Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan tumbled.

On the FTSE 100, financial stocks were weak with Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Standard Life (SL.) and HSBC (HSBA) suffering falls of up to 1.8%.

UK unemployment fell to 4.6%, down from 5.1% a year earlier, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Brent crude oil slid 1% lower to $51.23 per barrel, while copper climbed 0.4% higher to $5,621 per tonne.


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 1.3% to 665.4p.

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 193.6p.

The UK government sold its remaining stake in high street bank Lloyds (LLOY) and returned it to full private ownership, prompting the stock to nudge higher to 70.7p.


A 'mixed' trading update at Spectris (SXS) was punished by the market as the stock declined 3% to £26.51. Like-for-like sales in Asia Pacific were up 11%, but declined by 1% in North America.

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 1.5% rise to 296.2p.

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 4.8% to 261.6p.


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 3.2% lower.

Shares in Proxama (PROX) plummeted by 27.4% 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.

Record quarter sales and an upbeat outlook at Zotefoams (ZTF) pushed it 6.7% higher to 309.6p. 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 8.2% higher at 400.2p. 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 advanced 7.6% to 295.5p on the news.

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