StockMarketWire.com - Having reached a new record high on Thursday, the FTSE 100 takes a small step back by Friday lunchtime. The index is dragged back by falls for pharmaceutical, utility and telecoms stocks.

Around midday the index was down 0.16% at 7,775.21.

LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

AstraZeneca (AZN) fell 2.5% to £52.13 after declining sales of heart-disease treatment Crestor contributed to a 36% slump in first-quarter profit.

Lloyds Banking (LLOY), meanwhile, said it had agreed to sell its Irish residential mortgage portfolio to Barclays for around £4bn, generating a loss of around £110m. Its shares were flat at 66.2p

Mining house Rio Tinto (RIO) said authorities had approved the use of driverless trains at its iron ore operations in Western Australia state--a move it said would cut costs. Its shares weakened by 0.7% to £43.26.

Airline cargo handling and logistics group John Menzies (MNZS) said it continued to trade ahead of last year, though a proposed sale of its distribution business was taking longer than expected. Its shares lost 0.6% to 665.7p.

Oil service group Petrofac (PFC) gained 0.3% to 618.4p on the back of news that it had been awarded more than $1.7bn of new orders in the year to date.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals reiterated its full-year guidance as its injectables, generics and branded businesses benefited from new product launches. Its shares shed 1.14% to £13.84.

Homewares distributor Dunelm (DNLM) appointed current Compass Group financial controller Laura Carr as its new chief financial officer. The shares fell 0.7% to 613p.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Beleaguered flooring retailer Carpetright (CPR) gained 8.6% to 36.1p after it launched a £60m discounted share offering as part of a turnaround plan approved by its creditors last month.


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