StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks fell further by midday on Monday after a dearth of economic, political and company news during traditionally quiet post-Christmas trading.

At 1155, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 27.28 points, or 0.36%, to 7,617.62.

LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Clothing retailer Next was the biggest drag on the index, down 2.3% to £71.06 after data by consultancy Springboard showed footfall on Boxing Day was down over 10% across the retail sector with high streets faring worse still.

Mining company Rio Tinto shed 1 % to £45.04, even as it started the process of resuming operations at its Richards Bay mineral sands operation in South Africa following security problems.

Production had been halted for around a month following an escalation in violence in the communities surrounding the operation that saw one employee shot and seriously injured.

AstraZeneca fell 0.27% to £77.24, despite the pharmaceutical company and partner Merck announcing that a treatment for pancreatic cancer had been approved for use in the US.

Iron ore producer Petropavlovsk gained 0.6% to 12.7p with an update on its 31% subsidiary IRC which operates on the China-Russia border.

The plant is running at close to full capacity, while iron ore prices remain stable. Meanwhile, the river Amur bridge is expected to be completed next year, reducing costs and shipment time to customers.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

SDCL Energy Efficiency Income Trust gained 0.5% to 108p after it agreed to acquire a 50% interest in a portfolio of recycled energy and co-generation projects in the US state of Indiana, for about $110m.

Radio network group CyanConnode soared 75% to 3.68p on the back of news that it had won an order in Thailand worth around $1.6m.

BigDish, which operates a sales management platform for restaurants, sank 11.33% to 1.33p, as it booked a deeper first-half loss after it wrote down the value of its assets.

Recently-appointed chief executive Tom Sumner said he expected 2020 to be a 'turnaround story' for the company.

Small media technology group Iconic Labs jumped 10.96% to 0.075p, having announced that chairman David Sefton was resigning at the end of the company's annual general meeting on Monday.

Iconic Labs said that Sefton felt that 'rumour and market speculation' regarding previous employer Anglo African Oil & Gas -- which recently announced plans to become a cash shell after it experienced funding issues -- was having an adverse effect on Iconic Labs.

Fertilizer group Emmerson gained 6.32% to 4.04p on announcing that it was still expecting to deliver a feasibility study for its Khemisset potash project in Morocco in the first half of 2020.


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