- The FTSE closed up more than 0.5% after the latest US non-farm payrolls data came in ahead of expectations.

Elsewhere Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) got a good reaction to its first half numbers and there was weakness in the housebuilding stocks.

Housebuilders struggled after reports the Help to Buy scheme may be scrapped earlier than expected. Broker Liberum warned scheme was removed it could impact margins and sales rates across the whole sector.

Barratt Developments (BDEV) led the pack lower with a 4.5% decline to 589.95p. Peers Taylor Wimpey (TW.) and Persimmon (PSN) fell 3.5% to 188.3p and £24.73, respectively.


US stocks opened slightly higher on news non-farm payrolls were up 209,000 in July against expectations for a 190,000 build.

In Asia, the stock markets also struggled to gain momentum as Hong Kong's Hang Seng was broadly unmoved at 27,562.


Investors were thrilled with Alton Towers owner Merlin Entertainment's (MERL) latest results as the stock accelerated 5.6% to 488.8p. The theme park operator said revenue was up 20.8% thanks to the opening of LEGOLAND Japan, a strong Easter trading period and the positive contribution from new accommodation.

In other corporate news, Royal Bank of Scotland reported an operating profit before tax of £1,951m in the first half of 2017, triggering a 2.2% rise in the stock to 261.7p. The bank also announced it would set up headquarters in Amsterdam as a contingency plan for Brexit.

Elsewhere, Pearson (PSON) was down 2.2% to 654.5p as it cut its dividend by 72% and announced a restructuring programme.


Paysafe (PAYS) recommended a £2.96bn takeover offer from Blackstone and CVC, pushing the share price 0.6% higher to 596.2p.


Nearly half of Providence Resource's (PVR) value was wiped off after the company revealed that the Druid prospect was water-bearing. The oil and gas firm said it planned to assess the Dromberg target 1,000 metres underneath Druid.

Europa Oil & Gas (EOG) also has assets in the same basin, causing investors to mark the share price 11.8% lower to 6.5p.

Elsewhere on the AIM market, Stanley Gibbons' (SGI) sale of its interiors division fell apart after Millicent said it didn't have enough money to seal the deal. The share price bounced back from an initial 10% fall to settle at 9.1p.

Shares in popular pollster YouGov (YOU) jumped 8% to 283.4p on guidance that its results for the year to the end of July would beat previous expectations.

RPS (RPS) unveiled adjusted pre-tax profit rose 35% to £27.2m and pleased the market after the consultancy said it is anticipated to beat full year market expectations. The stock advanced 3.7% to 275.5p.

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