- After briefly trading above the 7,900 mark on Tuesday, the FTSE 100 continued to trade lower by lunchtime on Wednesday, off around 50 points and closer to 7,800.

This followed weak trading in Asia overnight on comments from US president Donald Trump regarding dissatisfaction with the latest round of trade talks with China.

The commodities sector was worst hit with shares in miners and oil producers taking a tumble, not helped by talk that Chinese authorities want to intervene in the coal market to bring down prices.

Shares in Barclays (BARC) fell 0.8% to 209.35p amid reports it is considering a merger with rival banks. Standard Chartered, one of the names identified, was up 1.7% to 779.7p.


Fashion-to-food retailer Marks & Spencer (MKS) was marked up 4% to 303.7p on full year results. Pre-tax profit slumped 62% to £66.8m after store closure costs, although the 5.4% drop in underlying pre-tax profit to £580.9m was actually a bit better than the market's subdued expectations.

Soft drinks firm Britvic (BVIC) fizzed 7% higher to 812.5p after serving up solid half year results showing a strong second half sales rebound in spite of poor weather. There's a positive outlook statement from CEO Simon Litherland, whose Fruit Shoot-to-Robinsons producing charge appears to be coping well with the sugar tax; investors were also treated to a 9.7% hike in the dividend to 7.9p.

Elsewhere, IT infrastructure services specialist Softcat (SCT) skipped 8.4% higher to 716.8p on news full year results should beat market expectations, market conditions and customer demand both remaining strong during the third quarter to April.

Restaurant Group (RTN), which owns the Frankie & Benny's and Garfunkel's chains, gained 4.9% to 328.8p, as investors looked past a weather-related revenue slump and focused on a slowing sales decline in the second quarter of the year.

Engineering services outsourcer Babcock International (BAB) improved 1.5% to 776.2p as full year sales come in ahead of market estimates, Babcock raises the dividend for the seventeenth consecutive year and reports a year-end order book and bid pipeline worth £31bn.

Plastic piping and ventilation system manufacturer Polypipe Group (PLP) shed 2.6% to 405p after it reported that revenue in the first four months of the financial year had slipped 0.9% due to adverse weather.

Dairy Crest (DCG) soured 8.5% to 490.8p, despite the British dairy company reporting strong annual results and good sales growth momentum going into the new financial year, as investors react to the dilution arising from a placing to fund the expansion of its cheese production capacity.


Stride Gaming (STR) fell 9.9% to 187p as the market overlooked positive half year results and focused on a cautious outlook statement. Stride stated that 'whilst the UK remains the largest regulated online gaming market in the world it is experiencing greater regulatory and fiscal focus than ever before which is making it a more challenging market to operate in.'

At 11:40am:

[LON:BARC] Barclays PLC share price was -2.32p at 208.78p

[LON:STAN] Standard Chartered PLC share price was +11.85p at 778.75p

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