- Concerns over lower European car sales and slowing demand in China, as well as new emission testing regulations weighed on global equities with the FTSE 100 slipping 4.8 points to 7,054.

European stock markets suffered bigger declines with Germany's DAX falling 0.5% to 11,715.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones fell 0.5% to 25,695 at around 5pm UK time as investors were also waiting on an update on the Federal Reserve's latest meeting.

Brent crude oil fell 1.7% to $80 per barrel.


Shares in private hospital operator Mediclinic crashed 17% to 394p as earnings came under pressure after its Swiss subsidiary Hirslanden struggled with weak inpatient admission growth.

Housebuilder Barratt Developments enjoyed a strong start to its new financial year thanks to robust housing demand. The stock dipped 0.8% to 510p.

Shares in rival Crest Nicholson went in the opposite direction, down 8.2% at 296.4p, after reducing its annual profit guidance amid higher costs and subdued sales in the South East and London. The housebuilder said annual pre-tax profit will be between £170m and £190m.

IT infrastructure specialist Softcat reversed 11.5% to 700p on concerns over political and economic uncertainty that could hit trading. Investors overlooked a 35% surge in annual profit, driven by more customers and cross-selling products.

Education publishing firm Pearson revealed a better performance in most of its division helped to offset weakness in its US higher education division. Shares in Pearson were up 2.6% at 838.7p.

Online fashion retailer ASOS beat profit forecasts and announced it is 'huge' potential for the business, sparking a 16.9% rally to £58.44.


Resources company Berkeley Energia plummeted 41.5% to 13.7p on reports the Spanish government will not deliver permits for its uranium mine.

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