StockMarketWire.com - The FTSE 100 took advantage of weaker sterling amid growing uncertainty over a UK interest rate hike in May.

Bank of England head Mark Carney revealed he didn't want to get too obsessed with the timing of rate hikes, which the market perceived as a hint the Bank would not act at its next meeting.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.5% at 7,364 around midday, supported by gains from miners and larger companies such as HSBC (HSBA) and British American Tobacco (BATS).

Brent crude oil increased 0.4% to $74 per barrel. Copper slipped 0.7% to $3.11 per pound and gold dipped 0.4% to $1,341 per ounce.

OVERSEAS MARKETS

Wall Street continued to underperform with the S&P 500 down 0.6% at 2,693 overnight. Asian equities followed the US into negative territory on Friday with the Hang Seng down 0.9% at 30,418.

MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Consumer goods colossus Reckitt Benckiser (RB.) missed first quarter growth forecasts after its hygiene home division was affected by a competitive market. Its shares fell 5% to £54.99.

Rare diseases specialist Shire (SHP) dropped 4.5% to £37.96 following Irish pharma firm Allergan's announcement it will not offer a takeover bid for the company. Shire rejected three buyout offers from Takeda and investors are unsure whether any more offers will emerge.

There was more pressure on share prices in the sector following an announcement from Vectura (VEC) that chief financial officer Andrew Derodra has left the company for medical diagnostics business Unilabs. Shares in Vectura retreated 3% to 101.5p.

Addiction treatment firm Indivior (INDV) submitted a new opioid abuse treatment drug Sublocade to Health Canada, helping the stock advance 0.7% to 433.3p.

Parcels delivery service Royal Mail (RMG) confirmed CEO Moya Greene will leave the company, to be replaced by Rico Back. The stock was flat at 563.2p.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Currency manager Record (REC) slumped 11.9% to 43.3p amid a drop in assets in its fourth quarter.

Drinks company Distil (DIS) rose 12.7% to 2.4p on news a major UK pub chain is planning to sell its RedLeg Spiced Rum drink on its premises.


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