StockMarketWire.com - Sterling weakened despite a fall in UK inflation from 2.7% in February to 2.5% in March, helping the FTSE 100 gain positive momentum.

A 2% rally in the price of Brent crude oil to $73 lifted shares in oil majors BP (BP.) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB).

BP rose 2.6% to 509.6p and Shell increased 2.4% to £24.88.

A strong performance among the miners also helped the FTSE 100, led by Glencore (GLEN) and Anglo American (AAL).

The blue-⁠chip index advanced 1.2% to 7,317.

Copper climbed 2.9% to $3.16 per pound and gold glittered at $1,354 per ounce.

OVERSEAS MARKETS

US equities made modest gains on Wednesday with the S&P 500 enjoying the biggest increase of 0.4% to 2,716 around 5pm UK time.

MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Rio Tinto (RIO) unveiled mostly positive production rates in its first quarter, pushing the stock 5.3% higher to £39.77.

Shopping centre investor Hammerson (HMSO) pulled out of a deal to purchase its rival Intu Properties (INTU), lifting shares in Hammerson by 4.2% to 514.2p.

Hochschild (HOC) fared well after reporting a record first quarter for silver production despite an annual stoppage at its San Jose operation. Shares in the firm strengthened 8.9% to 217.9p.

Polymetal (POLY) reported that strong performance at its Albazino, Varvara and Svetloye mines offset a grade-driven decline at Omolon, causing the shares to rise 12% to 698.2p.

Energy services business Hunting (HTG) rallied 6.6% to 785p after announcing a solid update for the the three months to 31 March.

Private hospital group Mediclinic (MDC) received a 9.1% shot in the arm to 682p on the news it expects its annual results to be 'marginally ahead' of expectations. The company also revealed a 'significant' second half improvement in its Middle East division.

Funeral services provider Dignity (DTY) soared 11.2% to £10.37 following a jump in sales by £2m to £95m and profits were flat, but ahead of the Board's expectations.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Shares in Animalcare (ANCR) crashed 21.9% to 209p after warning that earnings will miss market expectations in 2018. The animal health products supplier blamed the impact of gross margins from a changing sales mix and intense competition.


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