StockMarketWire.com - Robust oil prices and a relaxed stance from Janet Yellen concerning US interest rates kept the main markets in positive territory, despite a slump in metal prices.

The FTSE 100 rose 0.4% to 6,298.59 and the FTSE 250 nudged 0.4% higher to 17,258.7.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil was up 0.5% to $49.93 and Brent crude oil advanced 0.5% to $50.83 per barrel, respectively.

Gold fell 0.27% to $1,241.2 per ounce, while copper cheapened 1.8% to $4,585.69 per tonne.

MAIN NEWS OF THE DAY

Sports retailer Sports Direct (SPD) advanced 1.9% to 370.5p as executive deputy chairman Mike Ashley providing evidence to MPs regards working practices at the company.

UK retail sales increased 1.4% in May after two months of flat sales, while online sales rose by 13.7% compared to last year, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

The market liked news that Esure (ESUR) might demerge its insurance price comparison site Gocompare.com, sending its shares up 1.5% higher to 287.5p.

Money broker Tullett Prebon (TLPR) said the Competition and Markets Authority was concerned about the broking of oil products in a review of the proposed acquisition of ICAP's information business. Investors were unhappy with the news as shares slipped 2.8% to 316.2p.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Equipment rental specialist VP (VP.) improved its pre-tax profits, margins and returns through revenue growth in the year to 31 March. Shares rose 3.2% to 733p. N+1 Singer upgraded its pre-tax profit forecast by 1% in 2017 and 2018 assuming continued strength in the hire station division.

E-sports business Gfinity (GFIN) signed an agreement with Gilette to create a football-based e-sport competition. The sponsorship news triggered a 1.3% rise to 9p.

Venture capital provider B.P Marsh & Partners (BPM) hiked its full year dividend by 25%, sending the shares up more than 6% to 168p. An increase in net asset value, bullish comment on new investment opportunities and more cash were other positives in the results.

Manufacturer of tolerance parts Carclo (CAR) swung into profit as a result of strong sales across its businesses and a second consecutive year of double-digit growth, nudging shares up 4.4% to 161.5p.

Independent energy provider Fulcrum Utility Services (FCRM) nearly increased its pre-tax profit seven-fold, although this was achieved by a decline in costs instead of sales growth. The shares were hit by profit taking following a strong run this year, down 4% to 41p.

Cloud computing company iomart (IOM) announced its pre-tax profit and revenues grew both organically and through acquisitions of SystemsUp and United Hosting, prompting shares to advance 2.5% to 273.5p.

Residential lettings agency Belvoir (BLV) agreed to buy Northwood GB for £22m, which will make Belvoir the UK's largest property franchiser, pushing shares 6.5% up to 124.6p.

Construction firm Mountfield (MOGP) moved back into profit as Connaught Access Flooring drove revenue and profits, causing shares to shoot up 20% to 1.6p.

Data management services provider Vianet (VNET) reported higher revenues, but lower pre-tax profits and the same full year dividend in the year to 31 March, triggering a drop of 6.3% to 96p.

Technical consultancy WYG (WYG) said its revenue and pre-tax profit rose and hiked its dividend and announced a change in finance director. Shares fell 1.7% to 140p.

Architect practice Aukett Swanke (AUK) revealed its revenue rose and pre-tax profits fell, resulting in a lower dividend, which the company blamed on the upcoming EU referendum.

Brain health firm IXICO (IXI) slipped 8.8% to 36p after its total income remained static and its operating losses rose in the six months to 31 March.

Plastic additives specialist Symphony Environmental (SYM) signed a three-year agreement with Pakistan International Airways to convert its normal packaging into biodegradable plastic, boosting shares 14.9% to 6.7p.


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