- Miners dragged the FTSE 100 into negative territory following soft manufacturing data from China. The FTSE 100 traded 0.2% lower at 7,265 around midday.

Rio Tinto (RIO) and BHP Billiton (BLT) were the biggest casualties, down by over 2.3% each. Peers Anglo American (AAL) and Fresnillo (FRES) followed the miners lower with smaller losses.

Overnight, US and Asian equities were in the red.

Brent crude oil was stable at $66.57 per barrel. Gold was up 0.3% at $1,319 per ounce and copper cheapened 0.7% to $3.14 per pound.


Motor insurer Admiral (ADM) beat forecasts with a 43% jump in pre-tax profit to £405.4m, but the shares were down 2.3% to £14.90.

St James's Place (STJ) reported market gains and strong inflows of client cash helped its total assets hit a record high, helping the shares in the asset manager rise 3.7% to £11.67.

Broadcaster ITV (ITV) disappointed the market as earnings dropped 5% to £842m amid a difficult advertising environment and a lack of a special dividend. The stock fell 6.4% to 162.1p.

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey (TW.) was also in reverse following a 5.8% fall in profits to £555.3m after setting aside significant costs to deal with the leasehold scandal last year. Its shares cheapened 1.9% to 190.1p.

Volatile currency movements overshadowed strong results from Genus (GNS), which is expected to take a £3m hit in the year to 30 June 2018, prompting a 4.1% decline to £22.40.

Building material supplier Travis Perkins (TPK) warned it would focus capital investments on its key priorities after a mixed market backdrop hit pre-tax profits by 10% in 2017. The shares slumped 7.3% to £13.29.

Costa Coffee owner Whitbread (WTB) announced the acquisition of 19 hotels in Germany in a bid to expand its Premier Inn brand. Investors took the news in their stride as the stock was broadly unmoved at £39.22.

Insurer AA (AA.) accelerated 8.5% to 79.7p on the appointment of Cathryn Riley as non-executive director.

James Fisher & Sons (FSJ) appointed Fergus Graham as executive director, pushing the shares 7.6% higher to £15.18.


Embattled windows retailer Safestyle (SFE) plummeted 21% to 120p on another profit warning as sales and profits for 2018 are expected to be 'materially below' 2017 and current market expectations.

A 'substantial increase' in estimated resource at Borders & Southern's (BOR) Darwin East discovery sparked a 19.7% rally to 4.6p.

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