- Weakness among a wide range of metal producers and companies reliant on consumer spending served to pull down the FTSE 100 index 0.25% to 7,378.

Miners including diversified producer BHP Billiton (BLT), silver producer Fresnillo (FRES) and copper producer Antofagasta (ANTO) all experienced a poor end to the trading week. Commodity prices in general had a bad day including a 2% drop in copper to $3.08 per pound.

A gloomy sales update from Greene King (GNK) had a negative read across to other companies which rely on the general public buying their goods and services.

The pubs operator and brewer blamed weak trading on bad weather in July and warned it expected other challenges such as lower consumer confidence, higher costs and intense competition to continue.

Unsurprisingly Greene King was the biggest faller among FTSE 250 stocks, down 15.1% to 555.5p. Sector peer Marston's (MARS) fell 7.7% to 104.17p in sympathy.

That prompted investors to worry about other stocks facing similar challenges. B&Q owner Kingfisher (KGF) fell 3.3% to 288.6p; and theme park operator Merlin Entertainments (MERL) retreated 0.6% to 459.2p.

A broker downgrade left retailer N Brown (BWNG) down in the dumps. Its shares fell 8.3% to 318.3p.

Wealth manager Rathbone Brothers (RAT) dropped 5.8% to £24.96 following allegations made in an online discussion forum. The company said: 'We are not aware of anything that would give substance to this allegation and are taking strong action. We are alert to the possibility of market abuse.'


The Dow Jones edged up 0.2% to £21,829 in early trading and the S&P was flat at 2,464 ahead of Hurricane Irma descending on the US. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.6% to 19,274.

The one overseas-listed stock on everyone's lips was NYSE-quoted Equifax (EFX) which slumped 15% to $121 after it revealed c143m US customers may have had information compromised in a cyber security breach.


Back to the UK market, a profit warning at Safestyle UK (SFE) hit the share price hard, plummeting 29.4% to 166.31p. The door manufacturer reported that order intake declined beyond expectations, affecting the firm's full year profit. Safestyle also warned of 'accelerating weakness in the market resulting from increasing consumer caution'.

Benchmark Holdings (BMK) fell 12.9% to 44p after reporting contributions from its new sea lice treatment were unlikely to be recognised in the year to 30 September 2017. The farming supplier blamed a delay to commercial field trials which are unlikely to start before the end of 2017.

Daily Mirror owner Trinity Mirror (TNI) said it was in talks to buy 100% of the publishing assets of Northern & Shell including the Daily Express newspaper. Shares in the company were down 2.8% to 88.25p.

Junior miner Stratex (STI) slumped 16% to 1.15p after a group of shareholders requested a meeting to discuss the direction of the firm and block the acquisition of Crusader Resources.

Shares in mattress manufacturer Eve Sleep (EVE) were flat at 80.49p despite a major retail agreement with Germany department store chain Karstadt.

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