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17 Dec 2018 | 11:55

FTSE falls ahead of bank meetings, ASOS sparks retail rout

The FTSE 100 was down 0.4% by midday at 6,815.85 as investors remained nervy ahead of meetings of the US Federal Reserve and Bank of England later this week.

There was a lot of focus on the retail sector after online fashion retailer ASOS plunged 40% to £25.23 as it cut its full-year profit and sales expectations, citing disappointing November trading.

Rival web-based retailer Boohoo got caught up in the fallout, slumping 14.2% to 157p despite stating that it continued to perform 'comfortably' in line with market expectations.

Other, larger names in the sector were also hurt, with Marks & Spencer and Next shedding 3.2% and 4.3%, respectively.


Power utility SSE fell 1.4% to £10.75 on news that it had decided to pull the plug on a proposed merger of its retail energy business with Innogy's npower unit.

SSE said it would now consider other options for the business instead, including a de-merger or outright sale to another company.

Miners were having a better morning than retailers, with BHP, Rio Tinto and Glencore rising 3.4%, 1.7% and 1.6%, respectively.

BHP confirmed details of a $1.02 per share special dividend linked to the sale of its onshore US assets.

Rio Tinto also announced that it had completed the sale of its aluminium smelter at Dunkerque, France to Liberty House for $500m. Oil services firm Hunting fell 7.1% to 477p and sparked wider weakness among its peers after flagging a decline in profit for the fourth quarter and sounding a gloomy tone on 2019.

Chemicals company Croda International fell 0.6% to £46.63 as it agreed to acquire vaccine service company Brenntag Biosector for €72m.


Miner KEFI Minerals gained 9.8% to 1.71p as it said its Tulu Kapi gold project in Ethiopia was on track to start in January 2019 after authorities approved a community resettlement plan at the site.

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