- The FTSE 100 index, which is heavily weighted towards international companies, fell by 70 points or almost 1% to 7,261 heading into the close as third-quarter earnings presented a mixed picture of corporate health and the pound gained strength against the dollar.

The FTSE 250, which is heavily weighted towards domestic firm, was down 0.25% at 20,064 points.

Shares in Royal Dutch Shell fell by 4.2% to £22.25 after it reported earnings of $4.8bn for the third quarter of 2019, lower than the same period last year.

The oil and gas giant said the result reflected lower realised oil, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and gas prices, as well as weaker realised refining and chemicals margins.

This was partly offset by significantly stronger contributions from LNG and oil products trading and optimisation as well as higher realised margins in retail and global commercial.

Meanwhile the price of Brent crude oil futures slipped back towards $60 per barrel, countering last week's gains.

Shares in British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines rose 2.4% to 532p despite the firm reporting a slump in profit as pilot strikes disrupted operations, keeping a lid on revenue growth.

For the nine months ended 30 September, operating profit after exceptional items fell 24.9% to €2.5bn, while revenue increased 5.7% to €19.4bn.

Pilots from the BALPA union walked out for two days in September in a dispute over pay and benefits.

BT shares gained 1.7% to 205p despite delivering flat first-half profits as costs increased amid a ramp-up in investments and lower revenues due to weaknesses in its global and enterprise businesses.

Adjusted earnings (EBITDA) fell 3% to £3,923m and capital expenditure was up £225m to £1,882m in the period, driven by increased network investment.

Lloyds Banking Group shares fell by 1.5% to 56.8p after the bank reported a sharp fall in profit as further payments for protection insurance claims in the third quarter dented growth.

In the three months ended 30 September, pre-tax profit fell 97% to £50m from £1.8bn a year earlier following an additional £1.8bn of PPI charges.

Lloyds also announced that its chief operating officer, Juan Colombas, planned to retire in July 2020.

Smith & Nephew shares dipped 3.8% to £16.50 after it reported underlying revenue growth of 4% for the third quarter of 2019.

The medical equipment manufacturer also reported continued mid-teens growth from emerging markets operations, led by a quarter of strong growth in China.

Mining giant Rio Tinto reported a free cash flow of $10bn for 2019 based on current spot prices ahead of an investor seminar in London today. Share dropped 1% to £40.24.


Shares in magazines firm Future jumped 12% to £15.25 after the announcement last night of the £140m acquisition of Ti Media, the publisher of titles like Marie Claire UK and Country Life.

Housebuilder Crest Nicholson saw its shares slide by 5.3% to 388p after warning on profit for the full year as Brexit uncertainty weighed on sales.

The company set out a plan to turn around performance, including cutting cost and trimming land sales.

Carpetright shares fell 49% to 4.65p after the cash-strapped retailer said it was in talks with Meditor concerning a possible sale of the business for just 5p per share as efforts to find £80m to turnaround the business had come up short.

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