- A rally in mining stocks kept the positive momentum in the FTSE 100, which was trading 0.6% higher at 7,430 at midday.

Glencore (GLEN) led the sector higher, up 2.8% to 339.8p, while Antofagasta (ANTO) and Anglo American (AAL) made smaller gains of 2.3% and 1.6%.

In the UK, the unemployment rate fell to 4.4%, down from 4.9% a year earlier, according to the Office for National Statistics. This is the lowest unemployment rate since 1975.

Brent crude oil was up 0.5% to $51 per barrel. Gold dipped 0.3% to $1,269 per ounce and copper climbed 0.1% to $6,371 per tonne.


Insurer Admiral (ADM) said it was hit by extra costs from large injury claims thanks to the change in the Ogden rate. Investors were disappointed with this and a marginal 2% increase in pre-tax profits to £193m in the first half of 2017, dragging the stock 5.2% lower to £20.58.

Prudential (PRU) sold its US independent broker-dealer network to LPL Financial for at least $325m, but this failed to move the share price much at £18.22.


Wall Street was subdued overnight despite stronger than expected retail sales data, the Dow Jones was flat at 21,998.


Among the mid-caps, Balfour Beatty (BBY) was a winner after it announced underlying profit from operations rose more than tripled from £11m in the first half of 2016 to £39m over the same period this year. Shares in the infrastructure group surged 8.2% to 283.9p.

This was not the case for Hochschild Mining's (HOC) after its pre-tax profits plummeted to $39.9m in the six months to the end of June, down from $60.3m. The market was spooked by the drop, marking the stock 16.7% to 273.2p.

Elsewhere, potash developer Sirius Minerals (SXX) said its operating loss widened from £4.7m to £14.7m in the first half of the year, driven by more activity following the completion of stage one financing. Shares in the firm advanced 4% to 28.2p.

Property investment company CLS (CLI) reported strong first half results, supported by valuation gains across all regions and the sale of Vauxhall Square for £144.1m at a 39% premium to book value. The news pushed the stock 1% higher to 216.5p.


A profit warning from Epwin (EPWN) triggered a sell-off, prompting the share price to crash 16.9% to 78.3p. The company cautioned that full year results would be marginally below market expectations due to challenging renovation, maintenance and improvement industry conditions and higher material costs.

Motor retail group Lookers (LOOK) reversed 7.4% to 108.2p as its pre-tax profit fell to £44.6m in the first half, down from £46.7m the year before.

Two new drilling contract wins for Greka Drilling (GDL) from PetroChina Huabei Oilfield initially sparked its share price, but this reversed and left the stock 10.8% to 2p.

Quarto (QRT) terminated takeover discussions with an anonymous bidder by mutual agreement, which caused the stock to drop 20.2% to 124.5p.

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