- Cigarette sellers Imperial Brands (IMB) and British American Tobacco (BATS) helped the FTSE 100 stay afloat.

Imperial Brands was among the biggest blue chip risers, up 2.2% at £30.93 while British American Tobacco was 0.9% higher to £50.49.

The FTSE 100 traded 0.1% higher at 7,398 around midday.

Brent crude oil advanced 0.3% to $62.39 per barrel.


Low-cost airline EasyJet (EZJ) impressed the market with news that revenue per seat growth is expected to be positive by 'low to mid-single digits' in the first half, driven by some capacity leaving the market. This overshadowed a 17.3% drop in headline pre-tax profit to £408m in the year to 30 September as the shares flew 6.7% higher to £13.64.

B&Q owner Kingfisher (KGF) struggled with sales in its French division, which were down 0.5% in the third quarter. The stock ticked 1.6% lower to 299.6p on the news.

Online retailer AO World (AO.) trimmed its annual guidance thanks to higher sales, although expansion costs climbed. This spooked the market as the stock retreated 3.2% to 111.2p.

Power generator provider Aggreko (AGK) was among the biggest mid-cap fallers following a 15% slump in sales in its power solutions division. The company blamed the longer than expected conversion of its pipeline as the stock sharply dropped 19.5% to 878p.

Product testing firm Intertek (ITRK) revealed its resources division experienced a sales drop of 4% to $12.4m year-on-year. Investors focused on the negatives instead of a 9.8% jump in overall sales to £2.3bn in the first ten months of 2017, causing the shares to fall 3.7% to £52.05.

Chemicals company Johnson Matthey (JMAT) said operating profit was down 2% due to costs from its restructuring programme. Shares in the firm cheapened 3.2% to £31.64.

Home repairs business Homeserve (HSV) advanced 2.6% to 827.5p on a 12% rise in statutory operating profit to £27.5m year-on-year and 16% increase in sales to £366m.

Specialist construction products supplier SIG (SHI) rallied 7.6% to 171.8p on a 4.6% increase in sales between July and the end of October.

Utility supplier Telecom Plus (TEP) unveiled strong results in the six months to 30 September as adjusted pre-tax profit jumped 6% to £25.7m. Investors marked the stock 3.6% higher to £12.02.

Melrose Industries (MRO) encountered issues with some of its acquisitions, prompting the shares to reverse 6.1% to 202.2p. The company's strategy depends on improving underperforming firms that it acquires.


Shares in engineering business Severfield (SFR) advanced 7.3% to 69.2p on an impressive 49% rise in underlying profit to £12.9m in the half year to 30 September.

Support services firm VP (VP.) boosted profit before tax and amortisation by 13% to £21.2m, helping the stock gain momentum, up 3% to 903.5p.

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