- UK stocks opened lower on Monday and were slightly down by lunchtime as a disappointing earnings update from lender HSBC stoked global growth concerns and domestic political uncertainty dragged on. Despite the EU granting a Brexit 'flextension' to January, the markets are still awaiting some form of break in the election deadlock.

At 11.45, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 4.5 points, or 0.06%, at 7,319.97.


HSBC dropped 3.8% to 593.8p as it reported an 18% fall in third-quarter profit and warned it would miss its return on equity target for 2020.

Cairn Energy reversed 9.9% to 174.1p after an exploration well offshore Mexico came up dry.

Iron ore company Ferrexpo fell 2.9% to 129.6p on announcing that chief executive Kostyantin Zhevago would temporarily step down to focus on matters involving a former business interest in Ukraine.

Advertising group S4Capital was unchanged at 165.5p after it acquired London-based media and data science company ConversionWorks and South Korea-based data and analytics consultancy Datalicious, both for undisclosed sums.


Infrastructure group Costain cheapened 2p to 170.4p despite announcing a raft of new road-building and management contracts in the south-east and north of England employing its enhanced highways technology, designed to improve road safety and relieve congestion.

Online women's fashion retailer Sosandar rallied 25% to 20p as it forecast a 53% rise in first-half revenue, but guided for higher-than-expected marketing costs for the full year.

Hostel group Safestay was unchanged at 31.8p on announcing that it had agreed to acquire Greek hostel AthenStyle for €1.5m.

Photo booth and laundry service provider Photo-Me International fell 4% to 85.7p as it warned of weakness at its identify unit, offset by growth at its laundry business.

Leak detection and remediation solutions provider Water Intelligence gained 5.8% to 281.5p, with its pre-tax profit results for the year to date 'comfortably' in line with expectations, while revenue was higher than expectations.

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