StockMarketWire.com - The FTSE 100 managed a modest 0.3% rise to 7,592 around midday despite a lack of corporate news as the summer lull kicked in.

Housebuilders and miners were among the top performers with Persimmon strengthening 1.4% to £24.75 and BHP Billiton adding 1.6% to £16.36.

Brent crude oil gained 1.4% to $73.63 per barrel.

MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Building services business Grafton gained 5.2% to 817p on a strong set of results in the first half of 2018 as sales and operating profit soared.

Outsourcer Capita appointed Go-Ahead's Patrick Butcher as chief financial officer, pushing the shares in the former 1.1% higher to 144.5p.

Shares in cyber security specialist Avast enjoyed a 3.6% increase to 237.9p after revealing rising billing, sales and profitability in its first half.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Investors focused on the impact of Laura Ashley's sale of its commercial property in Singapore, helping to cut £20.5m in liabilities instead of falling profits. Shares in the retailer soared 34.7% to 5.8p.

Floor covering company Headlam reported a 5% decline in UK sales in its first half and warned its annual results might be at the lower end of expectations, causing the stock to slide 2.2% to 439.5p.

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