StockMarketWire.com - Criticism from US President Donald Trump over the Federal Reserve's apparent enthusiasm for interest rate hikes put global equities in a funk, with the FTSE 100 down 1% at 6,773.

It was a tough day for the blue-chip index as investors were concerned that Christmas may not provide a much-needed boost for the embattled retail sector following a profit warning from ASOS.

Online fashion retailer ASOS plunged 37.5% to £26.14 as it cut its full-year profit and sales expectations, citing disappointing November trading.

Rival web-based retailer Boohoo got caught in the crossfire, slumping 13.7% to 157.8p despite stating that it continued to perform 'comfortably' in line with market expectations.

European indices were a sea of red with Germany's DAX down 0.7% at 10,793 while Wall Street also struggled with negative sentiment.

Brent crude oil fell 1.2% to $59.52 per barrel and copper cheapened 1.1% to $2.73 per pound.

LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Power utility SSE fell 3.2% to £10.55 on news that it had decided to pull the plug on a proposed merger of its retail energy business with Innogy's npower unit.

SSE said it would now consider other options for the business instead, including a de-merger or outright sale to another company.

Online trading platform Plus500 fell 5.2% on a confirmed date of 21 January for its extraordinary general meeting where it will focus on approving revised remuneration arrangements for its directors.

Miner BHP Billiton confirmed details of a $1.02 per share special dividend linked to the sale of its onshore US assets, boosting the stock by 2.7% to £16.59.

Rio Tinto also announced it had completed the sale of its aluminium smelter at Dunkerque, France to Liberty House for $500m.

Oil services firm Hunting fell 5% to 488p and sparked wider weakness among its peers after flagging a decline in profit for the fourth quarter and sounding a gloomy tone on 2019.

Chemicals company Croda International fell 1.9% to £46 as it agreed to acquire vaccine service company Brenntag Biosector for €72m.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Miner KEFI Minerals gained 11.8% to 1.7p as it said its Tulu Kapi gold project in Ethiopia was on track to start in January 2019 after authorities approved a community resettlement plan at the site.


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