Sector movers: Aerospace & Defence and Oil & Gas drag market lower
Stocks in the aerospace and defence space bore the brunt of selling after Cobham warned on profits for the fifth time in just over a year.
The FTSE 250 aerospace and defence group took a total of £179m in charges, including £150m from the KC-46 air tanker contract with Boeing, which together reflect increased estimates of costs to complete contracts and, in some cases, lower recovery from customers.
The news sent its shares crashing lower by 15.36%.
In parallel, BP and Royal Dutch Shell weighed on the Oil&Gas space after going ex-dividend.
Going the other way, interest rate-sensitive defensive issues were in greatest demand as markets came under pressure from profit-taking following their recent strong run.
Pharmaceuticals led the pack, with stock in Shire putting in the best performance after the drugs firm reported fourth quarter sales and earnings that printed ahead of analysts' forecasts.
Revenues for the quarter came in £3.81bn, versus the consensus $3.77bn, while earnings per share of $3.37 beat the forecast $3.24.
Shares in Vectura also did well after the firm said it hit its royalty cap on sales of GlaxoSmithKline´s Ellipta range of products in 2016, one year ahead of forecasts.
The value of the cap was equivalent to £9.0m.
Among non-life inusrers, it was Lancashire Holdings which did best after it reporting that its bottom line held up in 2016.
Lancashire did caution that "market conditions remain difficult for the foreseeable future" but said it was confident about 2017.
As of 1605 GMT the yield on the benchmark 10-year Gilt was off by three basis points to 1.27%.
Top performing sectors so far today
Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology 13,935.14 +1.00%
Forestry & Paper 19,905.47 +0.98%
Fixed Line Telecommunications 3,585.48 +0.74%
Insurance (non-life) 2,816.43 +0.61%
Mobile Telecommunications 4,451.25 +0.58%
Bottom performing sectors so far today
Aerospace and Defence 4,608.01 -2.01%
Oil & Gas Producers 7,886.91 -1.57%
Automobiles & Parts 8,103.74 -1.08%
Chemicals 12,543.89 -1.02%
Electricity 9,029.89 -0.92%