- The FTSE 100 was in the red, down 0.4% at 7,510, as uncertainty over Spain and Catalonia's future weighed on investor sentiment.

According to media reports, Spain is planning to impose direct rule on Catalonia on Saturday.

Consumer giant Unilever (ULVR) was the biggest blue chip faller as third quarter growth was affected by a poor contribution from Europe and natural disasters in the Americas, causing turnover to fall 1.6%. The stock slumped 4.1% to £43.59.

Costa Coffee owner Whitbread (WTB) was another notable faller, with shares retreating 1.1% to £39.78.


On Wall Street, the Dow Jones was on a roll, driven by a potential return to growth at tech giant IBM, which surged 8.8% overnight.

IBM was the top riser in the Dow Jones index, which closed 0.7% higher at 23,157.


Flexible workspace provider IWG (IWG) crashed 33.8% to 211.2p on a profit warning. The company reported operating profits will be materially below market forecasts as an improvement in sales was weaker than anticipated.

London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) ticked 0.6% lower to £38.96 on news its chief executive Xavier Rolet will step down at the end of December 2018 after nine years in the top job.

Casino operator Rank (RNK) announced like-for-like sales growth of 2% for the 16 weeks to 15 October, but venues revenue was down by 1%. The stock was broadly unmoved at 231.3p.

Landscaping products manufacturer Marshalls (MSLH) acquired pre-cast concrete manufacturer CPM Group for £38.3m, triggering a share price rise of 6.6% to 467.9p.

A better than anticipated third quarter trading update from Travis Perkins (TPK) boosted the share by 1.6% to £14.96. The UK's largest builders' merchants delivered like-for-like sales growth of 4.1% despite a challenging market.

Brent crude oil slid 1% to $57.57 per barrel. Copper and gold were stable at $3.16 per pound and $1,279 per ounce.


A profit warning from construction group Interserve (IRV) caused the shares in the construction group to plummet 31.8% to 61.4p. The company said operating profit in the second half would be approximately 50% lower compared to last year.

Beach holiday retailer On the Beach (OTB) grew its UK revenue by 17% in the year to 30 September, with a strong second half sales growth of 26%. Despite the strong results, the stock retreated 3.3% to 435p on a previously announced one-off cost to help customers travel following airline Monarch's descent into administration.

Miniature fantasy models manufacturer Games Workshop (GAW) levelled up thanks to higher sales and profit, leading to earnings upgrades. Shares in the firm climbed 9% to £21.88.

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