- The FTSE opened in negative territory as Asian and US stocks fell overnight due to North Korea appearing to ramp up its nuclear threat.

It is considering a nuclear test of 'unprecedented scale' in the Pacific Ocean, according to North Korea's foreign minister. That news helped to drive up the gold price by nearly 0.5% to $1,297 per ounce.

Also influencing markets is the movement in the pound ahead of Theresa May's Brexit speech in Florence this afternoon. In early trading the pound was down against the euro but up against the dollar.

At 8.55am, the FTSE 100 traded 11 points down at 7,252.

Volatility in the commodities space also weighed on the blue chip index, particularly a 1.2% drop in the price of copper to $2.88 per pound.

BHP Billiton (BLT) led the miners lower, down 2.1% to £13.15. It was followed by Antofagasta (ANTO) and Anglo American (AAL), which fell 1.9% and 1.7% to 904p and £13.08.

Brent crude oil ticked 0.2% higher to $56.57 per barrel.


Engineering business Smiths Group (SMIN) fell 4% to £15.46 following a decline in its oil and gas activities that were impacted by difficult conditions in the global energy markets.

Over 50s insurer Saga (SAGA) was flat at 196.7p despite consistent growth of 5.5% in underlying pre-tax profit, driven by 10.4% growth in the retail broking and travel businesses in the half year to 31 July.

It was good news from struggling Acacia Mining (ACA), pushing the share price 2.1% higher to 182.3p. The miner revealed positive results from its processing trial at Buzwagi, which was designed to maximise gold dore production from the mine. An export ban by the Tanzanian government on unprocessed ore earlier this year has dragged on Acacia's performance.


Energy tech group Intelligent Energy (IEH) was among the small cap casualties after warning it faced an uncertain outlook due to the slower than expected development of the market. Shares in Intelligent Energy plummeted 61.8% to 3p. The company forecast that sales in the year to 30 September would be approximately £21m, down from £91.8m a year earlier.

Oil and gas services provider Lamprell (LAM) reported that adverse market conditions hit total first half revenue, which fell $159.2m from $451.3m a year ago. The company blamed conditions in the new build jack-up rig sector and low levels of contract awards in 2016 and 2017. The stock fell 10% to 89.2p.

Central Asia Metals (CAML) agreed to acquire Lynx Resources, the owner of a zinc-lead mine in Macedonia, from Orion Co-Investments III and Fusion Capital for $402.5m. Its shares remain suspended until acquisition documents are published next week. Story provided by