StockMarketWire.com - The FTSE 100 eased back in afternoon trading after the pound gained momentum on strong UK services data, the sector representing the lion's share of British economic output, and underwhelming jobs data in the US.

Usually a rise in sterling is bad for blue chip companies as the majority generate earnings overseas.

The FTSE closed flat at 7,560.

The latest expansion of UK service sector output was the fastest since April according to IHS Markit, which said it was supported by an improved order book and resilient client demand.

The Purchasing Managers Index jumped from 53.6 in September to 55.6 in October.

Brent crude oil rose 1.2% to $61.35 per barrel. Gold and copper cheapened 0.7% to $1,265 per ounce and 0.9% to $3.11 per pound, respectively.

OVERSEAS MARKETS

On Friday, the US markets were steady after new non-farm payroll data failed to meet expectations, which failed to rattle investors as it was still likely that interest rates would be hiked next month. Overall, the employment rate nudged lower from 4.2% to 4.1%.

The Dow Jones was broadly unmoved at 23,543 around 4:40pm UK time.

MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Woundcare specialist Smith & Nephew (SN.) warned full year sales and margin performance would be at the lower end of expectations - revenue growth was previously guided at 3% to 4%.

Despite the bad news, the stock was up 2% at £14.11.

Broker TP ICAP (TCAP) was cautious about its fourth quarter outlook, which it flagged as 'challenging'. The market focused on the warning and the resignation of chief financial officer Andy Baddeley instead of 9% sales growth in the first nine months of the year. Shares in the firm fell 5.5% to 505.5p.

British Gas owner Centrica (CNA) acquired energy management services provider REstore NV for €70m in cash, but the stock was broadly unmoved at 167.6p.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Kodal Minerals (KOD) skipped 20.2% higher to 0.2p thanks to a subscription for £4.8m worth of shares from Singapore-based investors Suay Chin for the exploration and definition programme on its Bougouni project in Mali.

The market was unnerved by troubled platinum miner Lonmin's (LMI) announcement that annual results would be delayed due to an ongoing operational review. The shares plummeted 28.6% to 74.4p.

Croma Security Solutions (CSSG) rallied 18.6% to 51p on news that its trading in the current financial year was ahead of last year.


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