- The FTSE 100 had recovered earlier losses to trade slightly higher at 7,387.97 by midday. Earlier the index had been under pressure, taking its cue from a weak session in Asia and the brewing crisis in Germany.

The collapse of talks aimed at creating an Angela Merkel led government in Europe's largest economy could mean another election and further uncertainty for investors.

Housebuilders are higher ahead of an expected focus on the housing sector in the Budget on Wednesday. Both Barratt Developments (BDEV) and Persimmon (PSN) were up around 1% at lunchtime.

Ahead of its annual results on Wednesday, travel company Thomas Cook (TCG) gained 6.1% to 118.1p as it unveiled plans to launch an insurance product and a pre-paid multiple currencies card as part of swathe of new services.


Industrial component distributor Diploma (DPLM) jumped 11.2% to £11.90 on a 19% rise in full year profit and a bullish outlook statement.

British Gas owner Centrica (CNA) plans to scrap its standard variable tariff and replace it with fixed-term tariffs as it calls for the Government, energy regulator and industry to 'create a market that works for everyone'. The company outlines seven key measures it wants Ofgem and the Government to implement. The shares were flat at 163p.

Trading and tech firm NEX (NXG) fell 1.2% to 589.5p, paring heavier losses early on. The market was apparently unimpressed by a fall in first half pre-tax profit as higher spending hit margins at its post-trade business.

Alongside the results the company said it had found another £15m of annualised cost savings on top of the £25m already targeted over a three-year period.

Warehouse investor Tritax Big Box REIT (BBOX) announced a £44.4m dealfor a logistics hub in Harlow and the £43.86m purchase of similar facilities in Nottinghamshire and Cumbria. The shares were largely unmoved at 147.1p.

Private healthcare operator Spire Healthcare (SPI) slipped 6% to 253.6p after largest shareholder Mediclinic (MDC) walked away from a potential bid for the company. Shares in South Africa based Mediclinic fell 3.3% to 537p.


Israeli tailor Bagir (BAGR) slumped 29.6% to 1.32p as a warning on 2017 profit overshadows news about advanced negotiations with a potential strategic investor.

Loo roll maker Accrol (ACRL) was dumped by investors. Down 67% to 43.5p as its shares came out of suspension on AIM and it announced a £18m placing to shore up its balance sheet. The company asked for trading to be suspended in October (5 Oct) as it clarified its financial circumstances. The business has been beset by higher costs and a potential health and safety fine.

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