StockMarketWire.com - Sterling was subdued after yesterday's sharp drop, but a strong performance in the mining sector helped the FTSE 100.

Randgold Resources (RRS) and Fresnillo (FRES) rose 0.7% and 0.5%, respectively.

Around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.1% at 7,563.

The latest expansion of service sector output was the fastest since April according to IHS Markit, which said it was supported by improved order book and resilient client demand.

The Purchasing Managers Index jumped from 53.6 in September to 55.6 in October.

Brent crude oil was stable at $60.72 per barrel.

OVERSEAS MARKETS

Overnight the Dow Jones closed 0.3% higher at 23,516, driven by President Donald Trump's appointment of Jerome Powell as the new chair of the Federal Reserve and details on tax reform.

The latest non-farm employment data is also expected later today, with investors hoping for a recovery from an unexpected drop in September.

MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Woundcare specialist Smith & Nephew (SN.) warned full year sales and margin performance would be at the lower end of expectations - revenue growth was previously guided at 3% to 4%.

Despite the bad news, the stock was resilient at £14.

Broker TP ICAP (TCAP) was cautious about its fourth quarter outlook, which it flagged as 'challenging'. The market focused on the warning and the resignation of chief financial officer Andy Baddeley instead of 9% sales growth in the first nine months of the year. Shares in the firm fell 4.8% to 509p.

British Gas owner Centrica (CNA) acquired energy management services provider REstore NV for €70m in cash, but the stock was broadly unmoved at 166.8p.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Kodal Minerals (KOD) skipped 18.5% higher to 0.2p thanks to a subscription for £4.8m worth of shares from Singapore-based investors Suay Chin for the exploration and definition programme on its Bougouni project in Mali.

The market was unnerved by troubled platinum miner Lonmin's (LMI) announcement that annual results would be delayed due to an ongoing operational review. The shares fell 21.6% to 81.6p

Croma Security Solutions (CSSG) rallied 23.2% to 53p on news that its trading in the current financial year was ahead of last year.


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