- Nato says Russia puts troops on ground in Ukraine
- ECB uncertainty and UK lending figures dampen sentiment
- CSR jumps on takeover hopes
- Xaar plummets on weak guidance
techMARK 2,846.33 +0.05%
FTSE 100 6,805.80 -0.36%
FTSE 250 15,910.86 -0.71%
The London market ended Thursday on a low note as investors faced with a relative lack of corporate news were left to mull over weak European economic data and renewed geopolitical tensions.
The FTSE 100 Index retreated from an eight-week high on Thursday to stand 24.86 points adrift at 6805.8.
Analysts said fears about no extra stimulus from the European Central Bank (ECB) in its upcoming meeting compounded weak German inflation and unemployment data.
But speculation that the ECB would still unleash quantitative easing (QE) - or printing money to buy assets - was kept alive by data showing a further slowing in lending to Eurozone households and companies in July.
There was a similar picture in the UK where fresh Bank of England data on its Funding for Lending (FLS) scheme showed a £435m fall in net lending to £4.8bn between April and June, coming after the first quarter's £719m fall.
Tensions in Ukraine escalated after Nato officials said more than a thousand Russian soldiers had entered the country. President Petro Poroshenko called for an emergency security meeting as pro-Russian rebels continued to take more ground in the south-east of the country.
"An invasion of Russian forces has taken place," he said.
In UK corporate news, miners were falling after gains yesterday, with Rio Tinto dropping 3.8% to 3209p, BHP Billiton backtracking 2.8% to 1891p, Antofagasta off 2.2% at 790p and Glencore losing 1.7% to 360.5p.
Precious metal producers Randgold Resources and Fresnillo, however, were bucking the trend with rises of 64p to 5005p and 12p to 940.5p respectively as gold and silver prices rose on the back of safe-haven demand.
Oil and gas explorer Tullow Oil gushed 1.4% to 731p as it announced several successful drilling results from a series of exploration, appraisal and testing activities conducted in blocks in Kenya.
The tills were also ringing at supermarket group William Morrison, which rose 2.5p to 186.9p after an upbeat report about August retail sales from the Confederation of British Industry.
Morrisons also got a boost from an upgrade by Deutsche Bank from 'sell' to 'hold'. Rival Tesco, however, reversed 3p to 246.3p after a downgrade from 'buy' to 'hold'.
Elsewhere, cigarette machinery maker Molins wafted 23.5p or 14.75 lower to 136p after the AIM-listed stock reported tough trading and order delays in core markets such as the Middle East and central and eastern Europe.
Wireless technology group CSR jumped 205p or 35.6% to 780p after it confirmed rumours that the firm is considering a sale. According to the Financial Times, the UK chipmaker has received takeover offers from a number of rival semiconductor manufacturers and could fetch a price of as much as $3bn, compared with Wednesday's closing price of $1.57bn.
Xaar, the inkjet printing technology firm, saw shares
sink 121p or 21.6% to 439p after a weakening in third-quarter sales cast a further pall over already-disappointing interim results, with full-year expectations downgraded.
BP was trading lower after a fire broke out at its largest US refinery on Wednesday night. Nevertheless, the company said that operations at the Whiting refinery "were minimally impacted as a result of the incident and the refinery continues to produce products for customers".
Afren was also in the red after saying it has suspended two more directors in relation to further "unauthorised payments". The firm last month suspended its chief executive and chief operating officer.
FTSE 100 - Risers
CRH (CRH) 1,426.00p +2.00%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 731.00p +1.39%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 186.90p +1.36%
BT Group (BT.A) 388.00p +1.36%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 5,005.00p +1.30%
Fresnillo (FRES) 940.50p +1.29%
Hammerson (HMSO) 613.00p +1.07%
Rexam (REX) 506.00p +0.90%
National Grid (NG.) 896.50p +0.90%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 4,479.50p +0.69%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,117.00p -4.86%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,209.00p -3.79%
St James's Place (STJ) 704.00p -3.56%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,512.50p -3.54%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,891.00p -2.80%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,123.00p -2.26%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 790.00p -2.23%
Carnival (CCL) 2,235.00p -2.10%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 720.00p -2.04%
Glencore (GLEN) 360.50p -1.70%
FTSE 250 - Risers
CSR (CSR) 780.00p +35.65%
Playtech (PTEC) 712.00p +7.39%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 216.10p +6.04%
DCC (DCC) 3,552.00p +2.75%
Infinis Energy (INFI) 220.70p +2.13%
IP Group (IPO) 212.90p +2.11%
Hays (HAS) 131.90p +1.93%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 889.00p +1.83%
Ted Baker (TED) 1,939.00p +1.78%
Hunting (HTG) 910.00p +1.73%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Xaar (XAR) 439.00p -21.61%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 339.30p -15.93%
Afren (AFR) 99.50p -9.95%
International Personal Finance (IPF) 512.00p -6.31%
Spectris (SXS) 1,942.00p -5.27%
Domino Printing Sciences (DNO) 597.50p -4.86%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 181.40p -4.78%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 130.00p -4.69%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 982.50p -4.33%
Enterprise Inns (ETI) 120.00p -4.15%
FTSE TechMARK - Risers
XP Power Ltd. (DI) (XPP) 1,600.00p +2.56%
Anite (AIE) 94.00p +1.90%
DRS Data & Research Services (DRS) 16.75p +1.52%
NCC Group (NCC) 217.25p +1.40%
E2V Technologies (E2V) 154.38p +1.40%
Phoenix IT Group (PNX) 92.25p +1.37%
Dialight (DIA) 926.00p +1.20%
Gresham Computing (GHT) 117.00p +0.86%
RM (RM.) 159.00p +0.63%
KCOM Group (KCOM) 99.00p +0.51%
FTSE TechMARK - Fallers
Oxford Biomedica (OXB) 3.38p -10.00%
Skyepharma (SKP) 306.00p -2.86%
Optos (OPTS) 200.00p -2.08%
Kofax Limited (DI) (KFX) 472.00p -2.02%
CML Microsystems (CML) 330.00p -1.49%
Vectura Group (VEC) 133.00p -1.12%
SDL (SDL) 333.50p -1.11%
Innovation Group (TIG) 29.75p -0.83%
Gov Bond 7-10YR UCITS ETF (IEGM) € 197.00 -0.08%
Consort Medical (CSRT) 913.00p -0.05%