- Financial stocks provided a boost to the FTSE 100, which traded 0.1% higher at 7,297.

Standard Chartered (STAN) led the rally, up 2.8% to 738.3p. Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and HSBC (HSBC) followed their peer higher, gaining 1.8% and 1.1% respectively.

Brent crude oil slid 0.8% to $58 per barrel.


In the US, the stock markets were flat with the S&P 500 closing at 2,496 overnight.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng was the standout performer, up 0.5% at 27,642 this morning.


Investors cheered satellite communications firm Inmarsat's (ISAT) news that AirAsia selected its next-generation GX Aviation inflight broadband solution for over 120 Airbus aircraft. Shares in the firm flew 2.6% higher to 637.5p.

A cautious trading statement from Imperial Leather brand owner PZ Cussons (PZC) set the stock back 1% to 326p. The consumer giant said that it was on track for full year growth but warned that it was increasingly clear that 'consumers are shopping cautiously' due to inflation and economic uncertainty.

Environmental tech group Halma (HLMA) continued to deliver improved rates of organic revenue and profit growth, but this failed to spark interest as the shares were flat at £10.74.

Films maker Entertainment One (ETO) reported it was on track to meet market expectations, but overall box office revenue at its film division nearly halved in the year to date. This concerned investors as the stock retreated 1.6% to 253.8p.


Speculation that struggling construction services firm Carillion (CLLN) could be taken over by a buyer in the Middle East triggering a buying frenzy as the share price rallied 19.3% to 55.5p. Carillion has had a difficult year due to problematic contracts and its substantial debt and pension obligations.

Fashion retailer (BOO) was in the spotlight after hiking its full-year sales outlook for the second time in four months. Despite the strong set of numbers, investors were cashing in their profits, causing the stock to fall 9.6% to 234.5p.

Chocolate retailer Hotel Chocolat (HOTC) fattened 3.7% to 293.1p after more than doubling pre-tax profit to £8.8m thanks to strong sales growth.

Spread betting firm Plus500 (PLUS) excited the market by announcing full year revenue and profit will beat market expectations. Shares in Plus500 gained 5.7% to 880p.

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