- Dominating the headlines was the shocking downfall of support services firm Carillion (CLLN), which entered liquidation as significant debt and lost key contracts finally overwhelmed it. Its shares were suspended.

The FTSE 100 drifted 7.9 points lower to 7,770 as subdued investor sentiment put banking stocks and utilities under pressure.

Among the biggest fallers were HSBC (HSBA) and National Grid (NG.).

Brent crude oil slid 0.2% to $69.70 per barrel.


Midcap Melrose (MRO) was still keen on taking over FTSE 100 engineer GKN (GKN) despite its offer being rejected last week. Melrose was flat at 228.6p and GKN rose 3.5% to 434.6p.

Bodycote (BOY) reported that US tax reform will boost earnings per share expectations by 5p for 2017. The heat treatment specialist rose 3.6% to 986p.


Speedy Hire (SDY) suffered a 6% slump to 56.5p due to significant contracts it had with Carillion.

The downbeat trading continued at chemicals specialist Carclo (CAR), which revealed a profit warning for the next two years as decisions over five contracts were delayed. It plummeted 37.5% to 78.1p.

Directa Plus (DCTA) hardened 7.4% to 50.5p on the back of an improved order book. The graphene products developer said its sales doubled in the second half of last year.

Mr Kipling maker Premier Foods (PFD) reported it is considering selling its Bachelors brand to Nissin Foods, pushing the shares 3.4% higher to 42.7p.

Gaming Realms (GMR) sealed a three-year deal with gambling firm 888. Investors were feeling lucky, marking the stock 0.9% higher to 11p.

The departure of chief executive Mark Watkin Jones from Watkin Jones (WJG) overshadowed decent results in the year to 30 September. The construction company said he was unable to take an executive role for 'personal reasons.' The shares were down 4.3% to 216.3p.

The market was concerned about rising borrowings at Non-Standard Finance (NSF), which fell 3% to 72.7p.

Gem Diamonds (GEMD) rallied 15.3% to 92.9p following the discovery of two high quality diamonds at its Letseng mine.

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