StockMarketWire.com - Brent crude oil hit a six-month high as it surpassed the $50 per barrel mark, boosting the markets after a bumpy opening.

The FTSE 100 was 0.27% up 6,280.04 and the FTSE 250 remained steady at 17,241.40.

West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.65% to USD49.88 and Brent crude increased 0.82% to USD50.15 per barrel, respectively.

Gold glistened at USD1,230.60 per ounce, while copper was boosted 0.62% to USD4,673.87 per tonne.

MAIN NEWS OF THE DAY

UK newspaper group Daily Mail (DMGT) suffered a drop in first-half profit and warned that the weak advertising market will hit its margins, as shares plummeted 9% to 676.75p.

Investors were happy with automotive retailer Marshall Motor (MMH) after it acquired dealer group Ridgeway for GBP106.9m. Shares shot up 25% to 189.5p.

Hostel booking platform Hostelworld (HSW) said its trading in the second quarter was below expectations as a result of geopolitical events, sending shares down 26% to 188.5p.

UK brickmaker Ibstock (IBST) falls 9.9% to 201.5p after saying that demand for its products has suffered from destocking in the builders' merchant supply chain.

Mortgage approvals by high street banks in the UK declined more than expected in April, after the stamp duty surge in activity ended, according to the British Bankers Association.

First quarter UK gross domestic product (GDP) growth was up 0.4% in line with forecasts, according to the Office for National Statistics.

BLUE CHIP RISERS AND FALLERS

Water service provider United Utilities (UU.) failed to stay afloat after revealing its underlying operating profit was down 9%, triggering a decline of 0.75% to 957.75p.

MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Retail value chain B&M (BME) increased its revenue by more than a fifth, after opening a record number of 79 new UK stores, in the 52 weeks to 26 March 2016. The shares rose 1.8% to 287.6p.

Store payment service PayPoint's (PAY) pre-tax profit plummeted more than GBP40m in the year to 31 March due to an impairment charge. However, it will pay a 21p special dividend funded by the sale of its online payments business. Shares were up 3.8% to 907.25p.

UK pet supplies retailer Pets at Home (PETS) climbed 3.8% higher to 258.75p after like-for-like revenue growth rose 2.1% in 53 weeks to 31 March, which was fuelled by food sales, including advanced nutrition products.

UK sugar maker Tate & Lyle (TATE) sweetened over 13% to 622p as pre-tax profit increased by nearly GBP10m over the last financial year, after lower exceptional costs took hold.

Fashion retailer Debenhams (DEB) was boosted by the appointment of Amazon fashion boss Sergio Bucher as the new CEO. Shares climbed 0.75% to 74.3p.

Network security solutions provider Sophos (SOPH) reported its like-for-like billings increased by nearly 20% and new product releases generated more revenue, although the share price went up 1.7% to 228.95p.

Pharmaceutical group Vectura (VEC) said its revenue went up by nearly a fifth and decreased its pre-tax loss by GBP4.3m ahead of a proposed merger between Vectura and Skyepharma.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Micro cap Westminster (WSG) received a letter of intent from a large Middle East civil aviation authority concerning a contact worth GBP30m, which sent shares flying 150% higher to 13.75p.

European insurer Gable (GAH) has put itself up for sale and says losses are expected to reach GBP14m for 2015, triggering a share price crash of 24% to 5.13p.

Regulatory compliance software provider Lombard Risk (LRM) said its revenue rose by 10%, which was aided by a technology license agreement with Oracle America, triggering a rise of 2.6% to 9.88p.

Proton beam machine manufacturer Advanced Oncotherapy (AVO) secured GBP24m of funding from Metric Capital Partners to complete installation of its Harley Street premises, boosting shares 7% to 7.5p.

Financial trading specialist Tech Financials (TECH) issued positive preliminary results, reporting revenue growth and lower pre-tax losses, which was supported by B2B products and a new office in Hong Kong. Shares were up over 4% to 12.5p.

Smart heating provider LightwaveRF (LWRF) dropped 11% to 13p after swinging to a post-tax loss of GBP384,000 in the six month to 13 March, as marketing costs and nearly a 50% drop in revenue took hold.


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