- A poor performance in the US last night and Asia earlier today failed to support the FTSE 100, down 0.2% at 6,987 at midday.

Oil prices slipped on reports of a large increase in US crude inventories, which triggered weakness in oil majors BP (BP.) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) by 1.3% each.

Brent crude oil slid 0.3% to $69.88 per barrel. Copper cheapened 0.9% to $2.97 per pound and gold shed 0.4% to $1,337 per ounce.

The weaker oil price also hit sentiment towards mining companies with Antofagasta (ANTO) declining 3.7% to 913p, Anglo American (AAL) down 2.6% to £16.36, and Glencore (GLEN) retreating 2.4% to 354.7p.

In UK corporate news, embattled sofas seller DFS Furniture (DFS) said trading had recently picked up. Investors were relieved that full year guidance and the half year dividend were untouched despite a squeeze in big ticket spending, pushing the shares 7.5% higher to 182.8p.


Regulation concerns triggered a sell-off in technology stocks last night in the US as Facebook's data scandal continued to impact sentiment.

Investors were also worried about the future of driverless cars, leading to steep declines in Tesla and chipmaker Nvidia. This was triggered by news of an official investigation into a fatal crash involving a Tesla car.

On Wall Street last night, the Nasdaq fell by 2.9% with the Dow Jones and S&P 500 also weak. Asia markets also struggled in trading today.


Back to the UK stock market, rare diseases specialist Shire (SHP) rallied 18.5% to £35.37 on news of takeover interest from Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical.

Distributor Diploma (DPLM) enjoyed robust trading in the six months to 31 March, helping the shares rise 0.9% to £11.29.

The resignation of Saga's (SAGA) financial director Jonathan Hill weighed on the stock, down 2% at 111.2p. He is leaving to join bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair (PPB).


Retail meat packer Hilton Food (HFG) beat forecasts with its latest annual results as pre-tax profit rose 7.9% to £37.4m in 2017. The stock fattened 2.4% to 788.2p.

Cash shell Gloo Networks (GLOO) plummeted 63.3% to 35p after reporting it is no longer pursuing a reverse takeover.

A new farm-out agreement for Lansdowne Oil and Gas (LOGP) excited investors as the shares soared 27.5% to 1.6p.

Media business Time Out (TMO) delivered strong e-commerce growth as it continued to transition from a focus on listings to transactions, but higher costs kept the shares flat at 130p.

E-sports business Gfinity (GFIN) fell 4.7% to 11.5p following wider losses over the last year. Gfinity also announced a share placing at 12p to raise £6.7m to fund growth and boost its working capital.

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