- UK stocks opened sharply lower on Wednesday after a rout in oil prices hurt big energy plays like Shell and BP.

At 0857, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 70.15 points, or 1.0%, at 6.983.61.

Shell and BP fell 2.3% and 2.1%, respectively, as fears about weaker global demand triggered a roughly 7% fall in Brent crude prices since Tuesday.

Engineering company Smiths Group rose 5.0% on news that it planed to separate its underperforming medical division from the rest of the company.

Power utility SSE gained 1.0%, despite posting a deep first-half loss, as underlying profits came in slightly ahead of its downgraded expectations.

SSE also said it was planning to create a new separate company for its renewable energy assets.

Flexible office provider Workspace Group added 2.2% after higher rental income boosted its underlying earnings and prompted a 20% hike in its interim dividend.

Financial services group Prudential said new business profit in its insurance and Asian divisions rose in the first nine months of the year. Its shares fell 0.7%.

Residential landlord Grainger fell 2.8% after it launched a discounted share issue to buy out its Grip REIT joint venture with APG for £396m.

Car retailer Marshall Motor jumped 7.5%, as it forecast a rise in annual profit amid a better-than-expected October.

Ex-WPP chief Martin Sorrell's new advertising business S4 Capital gained 3.5% after its revenue and profit both jumped in the third quarter.

Sports nutrition group Science in Sport slumped 11% after it said it would issue new shares at a discount to fund the acquisition of protein brand PhD Nutrition for £32m.

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