- The FTSE 100 chased US and Asian equities higher, leaving it 0.5% up at 7,274 around midday.

Miners continued to support the blue-chip index and utilities strengthened.

Among the biggest risers were Severn Trent (SVT) and Fresnillo (FRES), enjoying gains of approximately 2.2% each.

UK retail sales suffered its lowest growth since April 2017 in January. According to the Office for National Statistics, sales growth came in at 0.1%.

Brent crude oil was up 0.3% to $64.56 per barrel. Copper climbed 0.3% to $3.25 per pound and gold glittered at $1,358 per ounce.


It was a good day for industrial properties landlord Segro (SGRO) following a 26% rise in adjusted pre-tax profit to £194m, supported by a shortage of warehouse space in the face of high demand. Its shares climbed 6.3% to 590.4p.

Construction form Balfour Beatty (BBY) announced the LAX Integrated Express Solutions consortium, which it owns 27% of, won a £1.4bn contract. The company said the contact is to build a train network at Los Angeles International Airport, helping the stock rise 1% to 276.2p.

Miner Rio Tinto (RIO) reported it was told by the Mongolian authorities to find a domestic power source for a $5.3bn expansion at the Oyu Tolgoi mine by 2022. Investors took the news in its stride as the stock was flat at £41.13 despite setting aside $250m a year in 2019 and 2020 for the development of a new power station.


Vet services provider CVS (CSVG) delivered a line set of results but its shares came under pressure on discounted fundraising to pay down debt and fund acquisitions for the future growth. Shares in CVS fell 7.8% to £11.25.

Agrichemical firm Plant Impact (PIM) received a takeover bid of 10.57p per share from Croda (CRDA), which valued the former at approximately £10m. Plant Impact soared 72.3% to 10.1p.

Remaining in the chemicals sector, Haike (HAIK) reported it wants to delist from AIM and offered investors an exit facility at 30p per share, triggering a 41% rally in the shares to 26.1p.

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