- Bad news from housebuilder Persimmon (PSN) had a negative read across for the sector, helping to keep the FTSE weighed down at around its opening level of 7,509 by midday.

Persimmon said third quarter sales were flat year-on-year, causing the stock to fall 3.9% to £27.61.

Its peers Barratt Development (BDEV) and Taylor Wimpey (TW.) fell 2.3% and 2.2% to 636.5p and 196.5p, respectively.

Brent crude oil dipped 0.5% to $63.36 per barrel.


On Wall Street, the Nasdaq was the biggest faller overnight, down 0.3% at 6,767.

The underwhelming performance was partially driven by booking website Tripadvisor's lower hotel revenue, which dragged on profitability and prompted a 23.2% crash in the shares.

The Dow Jones and S&P 500 were both flat.


High street retailer Marks & Spencer (MKS) revealed a better than anticipated pre-tax profit drop of 5.3% to £219.1m in the 26 weeks to 30 September. Despite the beat, shares in the fashion retailer were flat at 327.4p.

Insurer Esure (ESUR) rallied 2.6% to 263.9p on upgraded full year guidance, driven by a record quarter of premiums at £233m.

Elsewhere, budget friendly pub chain JD Wetherspoon (JDW) reported third quarter like-for-like sales rose 6.1%, but this failed to fatten the stock at £12.49.

Oil and gas explorer Tullow Oil (TLW) upgraded its annual production guidance thanks to a strong operating performance from assets in West Africa. The stock was stable at 200.6p.

Hungarian airline Wizz Air (WIZZ) disappointed investors after its full year net profit guidance range was hiked to between €265m and €280m, but this was below consensus expectations of €286m. The market overlooked higher sales and profitability, marking the stock 7.9% lower to £30.70.

IT security solutions provider Sophos (SOPH) was 5% up at 645.3p on an improved full year outlook and strong billings growth.

OneSavings Bank (OSB) revealed its strong financial and operational performance continued into the third quarter, prompting a 3.6% jump in the share price to 411.9p.


Hilton Food's (HFG) strategy of co-operating with retail partners paid off as it boosted volumes from 17 July to 8 November, helping the stock advance 0.7% to 870p.

Investment trust Workspace (WKP) enjoyed a strong start to its financial year in April thanks to higher profits and net asset value being driven higher by more demand for office space. The stock gained 3.2% to 935p on the positive half year results.

Equipment rental firm VP (VP.) acquired tool hire business Brandon Hire for £41.6m, helping the shares rise 5.9% to 839p.

Avon Rubber (AVON) was up 5.8% at £11 after winning a 10-year, multiple award framework contract from the US Department of Defence.

Zanaga Iron Ore (ZIOC) announced its project was awarded an environmental permit by the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Congo. The good news triggered a 89.6% surge in the share price to 11.6p.

Customer delays dragged on technology solutions supplier Stadium (SDM). The company said it expected single digit percentage growth in pre-tax profit currently below market expectations, causing the stock to crash 22.7% to 90p.

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