- Disappointing European earnings and concerns over the health of the Chinese economy are among the negative factors putting the FTSE 100 under pressure.

With US markets also called to open materially lower the index of leading UK shares was down as much as 0.7% by midday at 6,994.25.


Whitbread shed 2% to £43.74 as it booked a flat first-half profit and warned growth at its Premier Inn hotel chain would be constrained by investment spending and weak consumer confidence.

Broking house Plus500 rose 6.2% to £13.26, after it said it expected trading in 2018 to be ahead of expectations, despite revenue falling in the third quarter due to regulatory changes.

Wealth manager St. James's Place slumped 4.5% to 988.2p despite reporting an 11% rise in its funds under management underpinned by higher net inflows.

Builders' merchant and DIY retailer Travis Perkins gained 3.3% to £10.12, as it grew third quarter revenue by 3.9% and said it was comfortable with market expectations for the full year.

Distribution and outsourcing company Bunzl said third-quarter revenue rose 7%, boosted by acquisitions and asset sales. Its shares ticked up 0.8% to £22.03.

Retail property group Intu fell 2.6% to 196.35p after it cut its rental income guidance, blaming 'tenant failures' owing to a difficult UK trading environment.


Book merchant Bloomsbury Publishing fell 2.5% to 195p despite reporting improved first-half underlying profits, amid a strong performance from academic titles, and inking a new supply contract with the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

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