- North Korean tensions loomed over the FTSE 100 after the country's recent nuclear test on Sunday. Media reports suggest the test triggered several landslides, marking an escalation in the effects of recent tests.

The blue-chip index continued to fall throughout the morning, down 0.6% to 7,327 around midday.

Investors overlooked housebuilder Barratt Developments' (BDEV) higher pre-tax profit and hiked dividend and focused on a dip in net private reservations in the first half of 2017. Net private reservations per average week were 265, down from 267 last year. The stock fell 3.8% to 599.8p.

Other blue chip stocks in the housebuilder sector fell on Barratt's news including a 1.6% drop at Taylor Wimpey (TW.) and 1.1% decline in Persimmon (PSN).

The exception was retirement housebuilder McCarthy & Stone (MCS) which fared better thanks to a 4% jump in sales to £660m in the year to 31 August 2017, up from £636m last year. Its shares rose 2.3% to 164p.

Elsewhere in the sector, Berkeley (BKG) warned the London market was adversely impacted by Brexit and recent changes to stamp duty land tax. This overshadowed the company's announcement it is on track to deliver at least £3bn of pre-tax profit in the five years to 30 April 2021, pushing the shares 3% down to £36.38.

Brent crude oil increased 0.8% to $53.83 per barrel. Copper climbed 0.7% to $6,900 per tonne while gold was static at $1,340 per ounce.


It was red across the board on Wall Street overnight as concerns over North Korea spread, hitting investor sentiment. The Dow Jones suffered the biggest fall of 1% to 21,753.


Software company Micro Focus (MCRO) surged by 7.4% to £23.71 thanks to strong results from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), which was subject to a $8.8m merger with the firm. HPE revealed sales for the nine months to 31 July was $2.1bn while operating profit stood at $804m.

Low-cost airline EasyJet (EZJ) kept the good news coming from the airline sector following positive stats from Wizz Air and Ryanair earlier this week. EasyJet reported a 9.4% rise in passengers carried in August and said the load factor increased to 96.3%, up from 94.9%.

But the decision to slash charges for checking in luggage was bad news for investors in Ryanair (RYA) although good news for passengers. The company said the changes would cost over €50m per year, although management believes it could encourage more people to check in bags. The market was unconvinced as the stock dipped 1.3% to €17.9.


Shares in Petrofac (PFC) advanced 4.6% to 431.2p after winning a contract worth more than $700m from Sakhalin Energy Investment for its onshore processing facility on Sakhalin Island.

Software firm Sophos (SOPH) said its strong momentum in billings growth continued into the second quarter of the year, driving full year 2018 billings growth expectations to approximately 20%. The news pleased the market as the shares ticked 0.8% up to 537p.

Sportswear retailer Sports Direct (SPD) confirmed trading in its new generation flagship stores exceeded expectations as the company aims to become the 'Selfridges' of sport. The stock was up 1.5% to 392.9p.

Acacia Mining (ACA) was on damage control as it tried to offset some of the impact from an export ban by the Tanzanian government on unprocessed ore. The miner said under measures to mitigate cash outflows it bought put options covering 210,000 ounces of gold at a strike price of $1,300 per ounce. Shares in Acacia were broadly unmoved at 190.3p.


Restaurant operator Fulham Shore (FUL) was the latest casual dining group to issue a profit warning. The Franco Manco and Real Greek owner blamed a slowdown of trade during July and August, as well as higher costs to support operations. Investors headed for the exits as the stock plummeted 22.4% to 13.3p.

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