- The FTSE 100 was flat at 7,562 despite a strong performance from utility giants Severn Trent (SVT) and Centrica (CNA).

Severn Trent advanced 2.5% to £21.85 on a positive broker note from HSBC, while British Gas owner Centrica followed, up 1.3% at 169.9p.

Brent crude oil rallied 2.4% to $63.56 per barrel. Copper climbed 1.1% to $3.15 per pound and gold glittered at $1,269 per ounce.


Healthcare firm BTG (BTG) announced a £53.5m hit after losing a legal dispute with Wellstat Therapeutics over the commercialisation of the treatment Vistogard. The stock fell 5.6% to 735.2p in response.

Aldermore (ALD) recommended a bid from its peer First Rand and revealed a 12% increase in net loans over the third quarter, helping the shares rise 3% to 311.7p. The bid for Aldermore valued the bank at £1.1bn.

Synthomer (SYNT) continued to hunt for acquisition opportunities amid flat sales in its third quarter, prompting the shares in the chemicals business to drift 0.8% to 496.1p.

Elsewhere, Morgan Advanced Materials (MGAM) disappointed investors with a 2.1% fall in sales in the thermal products division, causing the stock to slip 1.4% to 320.5p.

Miner Rio Tinto (RIO) was up 1.3% to £37.73 following the appointment of Simon Trott to the new role of chief commercial officer.

Budget airline easyJet (EZJ) was flat at £13.20 despite a 9.9% jump in passenger numbers in October and a higher load factor - the percentage of available seats on scheduled flights occupied by passengers.

Hungarian airline Wizz Air (WIZZ) enjoyed a 2.1% lift in its shares to £33.26. This was driven by a 30.5% rise in passenger numbers in October thanks to the launch of new routes.


A full year profit warning from IT services company SysGroup (SYS) caused the shares to fall 12.2% after its shift in focus to the managed services division impacted sales.

Support services group Carillion (CLLN) won two new contracts for Network Rail's Midland Mainline improvement programme.

Freight management service provider Xpediator (XPD) acquired international courier Regional Express for £1.2m. Shares in the firm rallied 15.3% to 37.6p.

Intercede (IGP) crashed 17.6% to 37.5p on a profit warning, which was mainly driven by a customer delaying an order worth over $2m into the next financial year.

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