- By midday the FTSE 100 was down 1.2% to 6,940.02 back to the lows seen in late October thanks largely to the actions of politicians on both sides of the Atlantic.

Donald Trump's combative tweets on trade undermined hopes a ceasefire between the US and China would be a stepping stone to a resolution of the tensions between the two countries.

In the UK a series of defeats for the Government overnight raised the prospect of MPs having greater control over the Brexit process and potentially steering the process in a 'softer' direction.

This prospect appeared to behind a recovery in sterling from the initial lows seen overnight, negatively impacting the relative value of FTSE 100 constituents' overseas earnings.


Pharmaceuticals firm Shire gained 2.6% to £46.70 after shareholders at its Japanese suitor Takeda approved a £46bn takeover of the group. Shire shareholders are set to vote on the deal imminently.

Train and bus company Stagecoach Group gained 13.8% to 175.1p despite swinging to a first-half loss owing to a write down at its US business.

Underlying profit fell by less than expected and the company upgraded its full-year guidance, while announcing the US business was up for sale.

Oil services company Wood Group reversed 2.2% to 638.4p, despite announcing that it had won a $43m contract to construct 80 miles of steel pipeline in west Texas.

Logistics property investor Tritax Big Box REIT secured £400m of debt to fund potential acquisitions. Its shares advanced 1.1% to 134.5p


Broking and advisory group Numis Corporation shed 0.5% to 275.8p as it posted a 17% fall in full-year profit after higher investment spending, including on staff, offset rising revenue.

Fashion retailer Joules jumped 10.1% to 227.8p after it said in a trading update that it boosted revenue by 18% in the first half of its financial year.

Eastern Europe-focused alcoholic drinks company Stock Spirits gained 4.5% to 204p after it posted a 14% rise in annual profit, as it boosted sales in its key markets of Poland and the Czech Republic.

Embattled cafe chain Patisserie, whose shares are still suspended, delivered a rare piece of good news, announcing that it had poached the former finance director of veterinary company CVS Group as its interim chief financial officer.

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