- The UK and Europe were in the red as concerns over potential rises in interest rates this year soured the market.

The FTSE 100 was 1.4% lower at 7,334. However fears of a more significant correction were soothed by a solid open to trading on Wall Street.

The pharmaceutical sector was struggling, led by Shire (SHP) with a 2.9% fall to £32.16. The rare diseases specialist was followed lower by AstraZeneca (AZN) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

Other noticeable fallers were Vodafone (VOD) and Nurofen owner Reckitt Benckiser (RB.).

Brent crude oil dipped 0.4% to $68.23 per barrel and copper climbed 1.6% to $3.23 per pound.

There was a slowdown in the growth of UK services activity, according to Markit's Purchasing Managers' Index, which fell from 54.2 in December to 53 in January.

There was also bad news on new car registrations in the UK, which declined 6.3% in January according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.


In the US investor sentiment started to bounce back with the S&P 500 down only 0.2% at 2,756 around 4:45pm UK time.


Investors focused on budget airline Ryanair's (RYA) negative outlook for the remaining three months of its financial year and next year, causing the shares to descend 1.7% to €15.84. The market overlooked decent third quarter results and a €750m share buyback.

Randgold Resources (RRS) guided its gold output at between 1.3 million and 1.35 million ounces compared to 1.315m ounces in 2017. The gold miner said its mining code in the Democratic Republic of Congo was 'draconian', shedding light on a 7.4% share price fall to £65.24.

UK supermarket Tesco (TSCO) reported it expects to post a profit of £1.57bn for the year to 24 February and confirmed a final dividend of 2p. The stock down 1.7% at 198.7p.

Charter Court Financial Services (CCFS) slumped 6.8% to 313p after broker Investec cut its recommendation from 'buy' to 'hold' following a strong performance in the share price.


Pharma firm Shield Therapeutics (STX) said its iron therapy Feraccru failed to demonstrate a statistical difference in the change of haemoglobin compared to a placebo. The failed study hit the shares hard and wiped off over half of the company's value, leaving it at 57.5p.

Weatherly International (WTI) entered a binding agreement to increase its ownership of China Africa Resources Namibia from 25% to 90%. The news caused the shares to soar 23.8% to 2.6p.

IQE (IQE) reiterated that it expects full year revenue to be ahead of market expectations and said allegations contained in the Capital & Research Shadowfall report provided a 'misleading' analysis of the company's financial position. Its shares were down 2.3% at 102p, paring earlier heavier losses.

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