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16 Oct 2019 | 16:38

FTSE drops as Brexit deal uncertainty rises

UK stocks dropped on Wednesday as doubts emerged as to whether a Brexit deal could be agreed in time for the EU summit on Thursday.

The pound had a volatile day as mixed messages emerged from Brussels, gaining against the dollar as positive news from the Brexit talks came to light but falling again when hopes of a deal started to fade.

All the uncertainty meant the UK's benchmark FTSE 100 index closed 43.69 points, or 0.61%, down at 7,167.95.


Mining house Rio Tinto shed 1.5% to £39.59 as it produced 6% more iron ore in the third quarter, but downgraded its annual production forecasts for bauxite and alumina.

Online fashion retailer Asos surged 28.9% to £32.99, even as it reported a steep fall in profit owing to operational hitches at warehouses in the US and Germany.

The company, which had already foreshadowed the fall in a previous profit warning, also said it had made a strong finish to the year and a 'solid' start to the new financial year.

Travel company National Express edged 0.45% higher to 450.4p after its Spanish and Moroccan division ALSA won a bus contract in Casablanca, expected to secure more than €1bn in revenue over a 15-year term.

Residential property developer Barratt Developments fell 0.5% to 679p on a warning that it continued to expect to grow homebuilding volumes toward the lower end of its medium-term target range this year.

Private health care services group Mediclinic International firmed 2.8% to 368p as its first-half revenue rose by about 9.0% in the first half, helping to boost earnings.

Property investor and developer Segro fell 1.3% to 812p after it signed new headline rent contracts worth £15.3m in the third quarter, up from £12.6m on-year. Rent roll growth from existing space, however, fell.


Woodford Patient Capital dropped 5.9% to 32.37p, a roughly 50% discount to its net asset value, after manager Woodford Investment Management handed in its notice and announced it would close down.

Payments firm Boku improved 2% to 101.5p after it inked a partnership with GoPay to extend mobile payments across populous Indonesia.

Infection prevention product manufacturer Tristel gained 0.47% to 295p as it booked an 18% rise in annual profit driven by sales growth both at home and abroad.

Manufacturing group PipeHawk fell 6.1% to 3.85p on announcing that it had acquired loss-making company Wessex Precision Instruments for a nominal sum of £1.

Advanced materials group Applied Graphene Materials gained 2.5% to 18.45p despite the fact its annual losses widened amid slower-than-expected revenue growth.

Nanomaterial manufacturer Nanoco fell 3.9% to 9.8p as it narrowed its annual losses after its revenue more than doubled, though it warned of tougher trading ahead due to the loss of a key US customer.

Entertainment AI shot up 6.1% to 43.5p as the technology and media platform company hailed strong third quarter audience and ad revenue growth.

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