StockMarketWire.com - The FTSE 100 followed Asian equity markets lower on expectations for higher US interest rates, reignited following better than expected US payroll data and surging oil prices.

Among the biggest blue-chip fallers were utilities companies with Severn Trent taking the largest fall, down 4.2% at £17.64.

The FTSE 100 declined 1% to 7,434 around midday.

MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Global healthcare firm BTG hiked its anticipated product sales growth from 13% to 15% to a range of 15% to 17% thanks to the inclusion of varicose veins treatment Varithena in the company's forecasts. The stock received a 5.1% shot in the arm to 588p.

Budget airline EasyJet announced a 14.2% rise in the number of passengers to 8.8m in September and a dip in the load factor, causing the stock to retreat 1% to £12.05.

Ted Baker enjoyed a 24% surge in online orders but investors focused on challenging conditions on the high street as UK and European in-store sales rose only 1%. Shares in the fashion retailer slumped 10% to £20.76.

Electrocomponents continued to perform well with strong like-for-like sales growth in the second quarter, helping the shares to rise 3.1% to 741.8p.

Chemicals specialist Elementis was flat at 241.2p following an initial 12.3% drop on the admission of new shares to pay for the acquisition of Mondo Minerals.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Sofa seller DFS Furniture shed 3.1% to 203.5p after pre-tax earnings dropped by nearly 50% to £25.8m, missing analyst forecasts as a downturn in market demand, attributed to the summer heatwave, hit fourth quarter trading.

Car testing business AB Dynamics revealed sales and pre-tax profits are anticipated to 'significantly exceed' analysts' forecasts, triggering a 13.5% share price rally to £14.55.

A profit warning at Audioboom wiped off nearly two-fifths of its market value, leaving the share price at 1.5p.


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