StockMarketWire.com - Stronger retailers and telecom stocks helped to offset weakness in housebuilders and insurance companies as the FTSE 100 was up 0.3% at 7,497.

The biggest risers included Vodafone (VOD) up 1.4% to 223.4p and miner Rio Tinto (RIO) which moved 1.2% higher to £32.05 as iron ore prices hit a two-week high.

Rightmove revealed that the snap general election and Brexit uncertainty failed to alarm the UK property market as year-to-date sales were 2% higher compared to the previous election year of 2015.

Brent crude oil was up 0.7% to $54 per barrel. Gold was stable at $1,252 per ounce and copper fell 0.4% to $5,643 per tonne.

OVERSEAS MARKETS

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 ended the day up 0.4% at 19,678. Index constituent SoftBank rose by 1.9% to JPY85.35 after raising more than $93bn to invest in technology sectors such as artificial intelligence and robotics.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

Pharma giant AstraZeneca (AZN) sealed a deal with Recordati for commercial rights to high blood pressure treatments Seloken and Logimax in Europe, but shares in the blue-chip firm remained flat at £51.17.

Broadband provider BT (BT.A) was subject to media speculation as Italian investigators allegedly seized documents from the Milan offices of IBM amid a fraud investigation of one its customers, BT Italy. The market overlooked the news as shares in BT nudged 0.9% higher to 314.3p.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

John Wood Group (WG.) won a contract to support one of the world's biggest offshore oil and gas projects in Russia - the Sakhalin-2 project run by Sakhalin Energy.

Paysafe (PAYS) slumped 2.3% as investors worried about the impact on the business if regulations were tightened in China. The business said it had significant exposure to the Asian country.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Investors were excited about a potential deal for wood chip supplier Active Energy (AEG) as the stock soared 36.7% to 3.08p. The company entered an agreement in principle with two Canadian provinces that could see it harvest and utilise up to 140,000 solid cubic metres of wood annually.

Hardide (HDD) announced its unit Hardide Coatings signed a seven-year supply agreement with Graco in Minneapolis for the coating of various pump components. Its shares jumped 8.5% to 1.6p.

Thor Mining (THR) revealed a 55% boost in its tungsten resource inventory to 11.73 million tonnes at its Pilot Mountain project in Nevada. Shares in the firm sparked 8.4% to 0.84p on the news.

Elsewhere in the mining sector, Metals Exploration (MTL) reported a full year pre-tax loss of £20.5m, which it blamed on delays to ramping up operations at its Runruno gold mine.

Greatland Gold (GGP) said new survey information revealed several new targets for gold mineralisation at its Ernest Giles project, which sparked a 22% rally in its shares to 0.4p.


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