- The FTSE 100 was struggling for direction as miners weakened on soft manufacturing data from China.

Antofagasta (ANTO) shed 3.9% to 870p and Fresnillo (FRES) fell 4.2% to £12.19. Miner Rio Tinto (RIO) and BHP Billiton (BLT) also declined by up to 3% each.

The blue-⁠⁠chip index fell 0.7% to 7,231.


Wall Street was stable after an underwhelming performance on Tuesday with the S&P 500 trading at 2,744 around 5pm UK time.

Investors remained positive despite the US economy growing at a slightly slower pace than previously estimated in the fourth quarter of 2017.


UK supermarket Tesco's (TSCO) merger with wholesaler Booker (BOK) was approved by shareholders from both companies, lifting shares in both companies by over 1.8% apiece.

Motor insurer Admiral (ADM) beat forecasts with a 43% jump in pre-tax profit to £405.4m, but the shares dropped 4.5% to £18.43.

St James's Place (STJ) reported market gains and strong inflows of client cash helped its total assets hit a record high, helping the shares in the asset manager rise 2.6% to £11.54.

Broadcaster ITV (ITV) disappointed the market as earnings dropped 5% to £842m amid a difficult advertising environment and a lack of a special dividend. The stock fell 7.6% to 160p.

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey (TW.) was also in reverse following a 5.8% fall in profits to £555.3m after setting aside significant costs to deal with the leasehold scandal last year. Its shares cheapened 4% to 186p.

Volatile currency movements overshadowed strong results from Genus (GNS), which is expected to take a £3m hit in the year to 30 June 2018, prompting a 6.6% decline to £21.82.

Building material supplier Travis Perkins (TPK) said it would focus capital investments on its key priorities after a mixed market backdrop hit pre-tax profits by 10% in 2017. The shares slumped 6.9% to £13.36.

Costa Coffee owner Whitbread (WTB) announced the acquisition of 19 hotels in Germany in a bid to expand its Premier Inn brand. The stock was down 1.1% at £38.83.

Insurer AA (AA.) accelerated 8.2% to 79.5p on the appointment of Cathryn Riley as non-executive director.

James Fisher & Sons (FSJ) appointed Fergus Graham as executive director, pushing the shares 7.1% higher to £15.10.

Elementis (ELM) was up 3.9% at 291.8p after completing the sale of its Surfactants division for €39m to Kolb Distribution.


Embattled windows retailer Safestyle (SFE) plummeted 25.2% to 113.6p on another profit warning as sales and profits for 2018 are expected to be 'materially below' 2017 and current market expectations.

A sharp drop in profits and sales at estate agent Foxtons (FOXT) prompted investors to mark the shares 8.7% lower at 76p.

Over a quarter of Vernalis' (VER) was wiped off on news that its Tuzistra XR prescriptions are expected to be lower than its guidance of 105,000 to 115,000 in the year 30 June 2018. The Board said it is considering alternative strategies for the US business and options to reduce the cash burn.

Defenx (DFX) reported sales in 2017 were significantly below the prior year and set out a strategic plan to help get the company back on track. Shares in the company plummeted 16% to 17p.

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