- Healthcare firms continued to have a tough week on the stock market and weighed on the FTSE 100. The blue-chip index traded 0.2% down at 7,399.

Medical products company ConvaTec (CTEC) and pharma giant AstraZeneca (AZN) declined more than 1.2% to 295p and £49.40, respectively.

Sensodyne toothpaste owner and drugs developer GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) was also down 0.7% to £16.06.

Other noticeable blue-chip fallers were Primark owner Associated British Foods (ABF) and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

Brent crude oil was up 0.9% to $48.86 per barrel. Gold and copper were stable at $1,216 per ounce and $5,864 per tonne, respectively.


Overnight, US equities rallied thanks to improving sentiment towards several big banks due to report results later today, as well as indications the Federal Reserve (Fed) would pursue gradual interest rate hikes.

The S&P 500 was 0.1% higher at 21,553.

Asia was also encouraged by the softer tone from the Fed and followed Wall Street higher this morning.


In corporate news, support services firm DCC (DCC) reported in line trading across the business during the first quarter to 2017. The share price was unmoved at £70.35.


Laptop and mobile phone seller Dixons Carphone (DC.) disposed of its entire holdings in The Phone House Spain, Connected World Services Europe and Smarthouse to Global Dominion Access for €55m. The decision failed to spark the stock as it dipped 1.3% to 260.9p.

The appointment of HSBC as a joint financial advisor and corporate broker by troubled Carillion (CLLN) provide a relief share price rally of 7.7% to 59.7p. On Monday, a profit warning from the construction services firm triggered a 35% crash in the stock.

In the recruitment sector, Hays (HAS) expects full year operating profit to marginally beat market forecasts thanks to continued growth in fees in the quarter to 30 June. Despite the good news, the share price nudged 0.4% down to 166.8p.

NewRiver REIT (NRR) was looking to the future and said it had 'significant firepower' to undertake accretive acquisition opportunities. Shares in the retail properties investment trust ticked 0.8% higher to 345p.

It was a 'busy and successful' start to the new financial year for Workspace (WKP) as the company benefitted from robust customer demand, helping the share price advance 0.4% to 874.5p.


Investors were unhappy that short-term profitability would be depressed at Prophotonix (PPIX) thanks to planned further investments in personnel, capital and product development. Nearly a third of the company's value was wiped off.

The market was spooked by financial services firm Ramsden's (RFX) announcement that there was 'unauthorised access to its IT systems.' The company said it was working with third-party experts to take appropriate actions, but this did not prevent a 5.7% drop in the stock to 139p.

A three-year renewal of the Teletubbies toy range bodes well for The Character Group (CCT). Shares in the toy distributor were up 1.5% to 490p.

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