StockMarketWire.com - The FTSE 100 remained stubbornly in the red as investors worried interest rates would rise faster than anticipated and drive up borrowing costs for companies.

The FTSE closed 1.7% lower at 7,042.

News the UK and European Union had agreed most of the Brexit transition deal made matters worse for the blue-chip index, as the pound to rose 0.7% against the dollar.

Approximately 70% of earnings from constituents of the FTSE 100 come from overseas and the rise in the pound hits their relative value.

Miners continued to fall throughout the day. Anglo American (AAL) retreated 4.2% to £16.95 and BHP Billiton (BLT) fell 3.8% to £13.88. The miners were followed lower by Antofagasta (ANTO), Rio Tinto (RIO) and Glencore (GLEN).

Oil major BP (BP.) slipped 3% to 459.7p and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) retreated 2.1% to £22.01.

Brent crude oil slid 0.2% to $66 per barrel. Copper was 0.7% lower at $3.07 per pound and gold dipped 0.2% to $1,308 per ounce.

OVERSEAS MARKETS

Investors remained cautious ahead of new Federal Reserve head Jerome Powell's expected interest rate hike on Wednesday.

The S&P 500 fell 1.4% to 2,711 around 4:45pm UK time, but the Nasdaq took the biggest hit, down 2.2% at 7,318.

MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Software specialist Micro Focus (MCRO) warned sales will fall between 6% and 9% in 2018, marking higher guidance than a previously anticipated 2% to 3% drop due to issues with its purchase of HPE Software. The bad news and departure of chief executive Chris Hsu alarmed investors as the shares toppled 46.3% to £10.11.

William Hill (WMH) and Ladbrokes Coral (LCL) rose over 2.9% each after the outcome from the Gambling Commission's review into fixed-odd betting terminals was not as bad as expected.

Real estate investment firm Hammerson (HMSO) rallied 23.9% to 541.7p on news it rejected a 615p per share takeover bid from French real estate investor Klepierre.

Activist invest Sherborne took a 5.16% stake in high street bank Barclays (BARC), pushing the shares 4% higher to 217.8p.

Turnaround specialist Melrose (MRO) continued trying to woo engineer GKN (GKN) by pledging to put £1bn into its pension scheme.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Shares in embattled Carpetright (CPR) crashed 21.1% to 44p on reports jobs cuts and store closures might be necessary to save the business.

This had a negative read across for struggling baby products retailer Mothercare (MTC), which plummeted 14.2% to 14.6p.

On AIM, brickmaker Michelmersh Brick Holdings (MBH) delivered an upbeat outlook, helping investors to overlook lower annual profit in 2017. The stock strengthened 6.4% to 83p.

Toilet roll manufacturer Accrol (ACRL) sunk 62.8% to 10.4p after announcing it expects to post a £13m pre-tax loss in the year to 30 April 2018.


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