The pound has made muted gains and the FTSE 100 stayed in the red after fresh labour data showed the jobless total rising for the first time since the turn of the year.
The pound was up by around 0.1% at about 1.232 against the US dollar. Versus the euro, sterling was down 0.1% at around 1.12.
The FTSE 100 was down around 0.25% or 17.7 points at 6982.3.
Data released on Wednesday showed that while the jobless rate had held steady at 4.9%, unemployment rose by 10,000 in the quarter to August to 1.66 million, marking its first jump since the
turn of the year.
There are still a record number of people employed across the country. Employment was up by 106,000 in the latest quarter to almost 32 million, the highest since records began in 1971.
Average earnings increased by 2.3% in the year to August, 0.1% down from the previous month.
The French Cac 40 and German Dax were trading low, down 0.1% and 0.2% respectively.
In oil stocks, Brent crude was trading 0.6% higher at 52.39 US dollars per barrel after the American Petroleum Institute reported a drop in US crude inventories, and investors started to regain
enthusiasm over a tentative production freeze by Opec.
In UK stocks, shares in Travis Perkins fell 87p to 1401p after it announced plans to close more than 30 branches and warned over full-year profits amid “uncertain” trading.
The builders’ merchant and Wickes chain owner said it will also close10 smaller distribution centres and is reviewing its plumbing and heating division
The move is expected to impact 600 jobs across the group
Shares in Hotel Chocolat were up 17.5p at 245p after the AIM-listed confectioner reported a 12% rise in sales to £91.1 million in the year to June 26, with pre-tax profits rising from £2.9
million to £8.2 million.
It said chocolate with less sugar was proving popular with customers, and that it was gearing up for its best ever Christmas.
Foxtons shares were up 1.75p at 96.25p despite reporting a 34% drop in income from property sales to £12.2 million in the three months to September 30, as total turnover at the London-focused
firm fell 13.7% to £37.5 million.
The estate agent pinned the slump on reduced activity in the London property market, months after the estate agent said it was reviewing its expansion plans in light of uncertainty surrounding
the EU referendum.
Reckitt Benckiser shares were down 215p at 7112p after the consumer goods company missed like-for-like sales growth forecasts of 2.8%, reporting 2% growth in the third quarter.
It comes amid a slowdown in some of its biggest markets, with European and North American like-for-like sales growth falling flat over the period.