StockMarketWire.com - UK equities gained positive momentum despite a weak performance in the US and Asia after the Federal Reserve hiked interest rates on Wednesday.

Gains in utilities offset weakness in the mining sector, pushing the FTSE 100 up 0.2% at 7,527 around midday.

British Gas owner Centrica sparked 1.8% higher to 152p and United Utilities rose 1% to 690p.

Brent crude oil increased 0.7% to $81.90 per barrel and copper retreated 1% to $2.78 per pound.

MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Tour operator TUI rose 1.7% to £14.63 after reiterating guidance of at least 10% growth in underlying earnings despite unseasonably hot weather, which recently dragged on rival Thomas Cook's trading.

Further investment to attract new customers hit over 50s insurer Saga after underlying pre-tax profit fell approximately 4% in the first half of 2018. The stock accelerated 2.4% to 129.1p after an initial decline.

TV and film rights specialist Entertainment One advanced 1.4% to 387.6p on a strong first half performance thanks to more licensing and subscription deals.

Support services company DCC announced the acquisition of the Jam Group of Companies for $170m to boost its North American operations alongside a share placing to raise more money. Shares in DCC slumped 4.5% to £69.82 on the implied dilution from the placing.

Pub operator Mitchells & Butlers received a welcome sales boost from the heatwave and the World Cup, pushing the shares 2.3% higher to 263p.

Struggling trading platform IG said chief executive Peter Hetherington will step down with immediate effect, dragging the stock 7.8% lower to 645.5p.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

A profit warning at women's fashion retailer Bonmarche saw the shares fall 18% to 84.5p. Similar to other struggling retailers, the hot weather and weak consumer spending was behind the disappointing performance.

Investors were in profit taking mode at digital distribution services provider Zoo Digital, down 20.9% at 134.5p despite an in line trading update.


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