FTSE flat as Tullow Oil sinks

The blue chip index was broadly flat in early trading this morning, as explorer Tullow Oil, which this morning said it was to acquire a Norwegian exploration company and dispose of its North Sea operations, dropped almost five per cent.

Miners ENRC and Kazakhmys dropped 2.64 per cent and 1.86 per cent respectively on the leading share index.

Drinks maker Diageo, which this morning said long-running talks for the Jose Cuervo tequila brand had ended, also weighed on the FTSE 100, losing 1.38 per cent.

On the FTSE All-Share, Domino Printing sank more than 4.5 per cent as it reported a 10 per cent drop in pre-tax profit over the full year to October.

Falling revenues thanks to subdued markets pushed spread betting company IG Group down 3.16 per cent in early deals.

At the other end of the spectrum, hotel and restaurant chain Whitbread topped the blue chip leader board, up more than three per cent in early trading, as it posted buoyant third quarter sales.

Premier Foods, which last month said it would cut 900 jobs in its bread division, was up 4.28 per cent in early deals, while pub group Punch Taverns added 3.78 per cent.

Gold producer Polymetal also rose, as it said today it is to acquire Olymp, which holds the Olcha gold-silver deposit licence, from Ovoca Gold.

UK banking shares were in negative territory this morning, following news that HSBC has agreed to pay out a record $1.9bn (£1.2bn) fine to US regulators. HSBC was down 0.25 per cent, RBS was down 0.1 per cent, Barclays fell 0.54 per cent and Lloyds Banking Group sank 2.26 per cent.

In Asia, the Nikkei closed down 0.09 per cent and in the US, the Dow Jones closed up 0.11 per cent.