StockMarketWire.com - There was a sea of red across global equities as investors had jitters over a lack of substantial progress over US-China trade talks and former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's testimony to Congress. Heightened tensions between India and Pakistan also affected sentiment.

Strength in the value of sterling continued to weigh on the FTSE 100 too, the index down 0.6% at 7,107, amid fresh hopes that a no-deal Brexit may be avoided.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones fell 0.4% to 25,949 at around 4pm UK time.

Brent crude oil jumped 2.1% to $66.56 per barrel.

LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Marks and Spencer fell 12.5% to 265.4p on announcing that it would pay online grocery retailer Ocado up to £750m to take a 50% stake in a new retailing joint venture between the two companies.

The shares were under pressure because the clothing and food retailer also said it would raise £600m from a share issue to fund the deal and slash its dividend.

Ocado, meanwhile, gained another 3.4% to £10.23 as the widely-rumoured deal was confirmed.

Television broadcaster ITV shed 2.8% to 127.5p, despite posting higher earnings, as it warned economic uncertainty would hurt advertising markets. Mining services engineer Weir rose 2.5% to £16.36 after pre-tax profit jumped 22% thanks to a stronger order book.

Fashion retailer Ted Baker slumped 9% on warning that its annual profit would be hit by a series of unexpected costs, including an inventory write-down.

Rio Tinto ticked up 0.9% to £44.25 as the miner reported a 56% jump in annual profit owing to gains made on asset sales, mostly in the coal space.

Credit checking company Experian abandoned plans to buy out rival ClearScore after concluding the deal was not likely to be approved by competition regulators. Shares in Experian fell 2.4% to £19.60.

House builder Taylor Wimpey gained 3.5% after pleasing investors with an 18% rise in annual profit, as it completed more properties and improved its margins.

Wealth manager St James's Place fell 3.6% to 941.2p owing an annual loss, as the value of investments sank and it collected lower performance fees.

Capital & Counties Properties fell 1.7%, blaming Brexit uncertainty for its widening losses.

Student accommodation developer Unite shed 2%, despite posting a 7% rise in annual profit driven by growing rental income, though the rate of like-for-like growth had slowed on-year.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Mr Kipling and Bisto owner Premier Foods revealed a re-shuffle of its Board, helping shares in the firm gain 3.6% to 38.5p.

Consort Medical's partner Mylan revealed a downbeat profit outlook, weighing on Consort's share price, down 1.4% at 907p. Consort makes the inhalers for Mylan's Advair Diskus generic.

Events group Tarsus gained 8% to 290p as it reported like-for-like revenue growth of 9% for 2018 at constant currency.

X-ray screening systems provider Image Scan slumped 21.3% after it blamed contract delays for missing sales targets.


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