- The Bank of England decided to cut UK growth forecasts on Thursday and the FTSE 100 dipped 0.8% by the close to 6,711.

UK retail sales were surprisingly upbeat after jumping more than expected in November, up 1.4% on October's reading, which was better than consensus forecasts of a 0.3% rise.

In the US, investors were still worried about the rate of interest hikes in 2019 with the indices struggling to gain any momentum. The Dow Jones slipped 1.1% to 23,052 at around 4:45pm UK time.

Brent crude oil fell 3.6% to $55.17 per barrel and copper cheapened 1.2% to $2.69 per pound.


Construction and support services group Kier was up 1.6% at 391.2p despite less than 40% of newly offered shares being snapped up by shareholders following the recent rights issue.

Shares in cruise operator Carnival reversed 10.8% to £38.77 as investors focused on the potential impact of rising fuel prices instead of an increase in sales.

AstraZeneca was flat at £59.46 after it and its partner Merck said Thursday the US Food and Drug Administration had approved their ovarian cancer treatment after it met its primary goal of reducing the risk of disease progression or death compared to a placebo.

AstraZeneca also said on Thursday that two clinical trials for its chronic kidney disease treatment had both met their primary efficacy objectives.

International transport company Stagecoach Group dipped 1.9% to 135.2p after it said on Thursday it had entered into an agreement to sell its North America division as it refocuses on its UK operations.

Faroe Petroleum fell 0.6% to 151.2p after it again called on shareholders to reject Norwegian oil and gas firm DNO's 152p a share takeover offer, citing the terms 'fundamentally' undervalued the company.

Industrial thread manufacturer Coats Group declined 1% to 80p after it said it acquired ThreadSol for up to $12m.


Lamprell was broadly unmoved at 59.5p despite winning a new contract worth over $200m from GeoSea Procurement & Shipping Luxembourg.

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