- Investors overlooked concerns over Trump's steel tariff threats with gains spread across miners, utilities and banks helping the FTSE 100 rise 0.6% to 7,115 around midday.

Service sector growth picked up in February according to Markit's Purchasing Managers' Index. The index rose from 53 in January to 54.5 in February. A figure over 50 implies growth, while one under 50 suggests contraction.

Brent crude oil rallied 1.8% to $65.54 per barrel.


Defence firm Ultra Electronics (ULE) revealed a decline in operating profit and the termination of its $234m acquisition of Sparton after the US Department of Justice did not approve the deal. Shares in the firm slumped 9.9% to £13.33.

Gambling company GVC (GVC) agreed to acquire 51% of online casino group Crystalbet for €41.3m with the option to buy the remaining stake in 2020 for €150m. The stock declined 1.4% to 860p.

Remaining in the sector, Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) was flat at £82.60 despite confirming media speculation that chief financial officer Alex Gersh will step down once his successor has been found.

Fenner (FENR) acquired metal bearings manufacturer National Bearings for an undisclosed amount, but the shares gained only 1.2% to 466.8p.

Wizz Air (WIZZ) grew passenger volume by 23.5% in February year-on-year, but its load factor declined. Shares in the Hungarian airline dipped 1.7% to £34.72.

Polymetal International (POLY) nudged 1.3% higher to 764p after boosting its ore reserves by 5% in 2017, but investors focused on a decline in silver reserves.


Newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror (TNI) advanced 2.6% to 77.5p after announcing it plans to change its name to Reach after its acquisitions of newspaper The Express and Star. Investors were optimistic the name change could help after sales and profit fell in 2017.

Struggling support services company Interserve (IRV) was up 3.7% at 57.4p after Punch Taverns founder Alan McIntosh bought £140m worth of its debt, adding fuel to reports McIntosh is planning to rescue the firm.

Gaming software and services provider Nektan (NKTN) entered the Asian market via its previously announced global platform deal for its Evolve Lite gaming system with Tyche Digital Malta. Shares in Nektan jumped 20% to 24p.

Metminco (MNC) plummeted 48.7% to 1.1p after revealing plans for a A$5.1m rights issue to fund an exploration effort on its assets in Colombia.

Anglo African Oil & Gas (AAOG) announced Congolese state oil company SNPC recommended the award of a new licence covering the Tilapia oil field in the Republic of Congo to Anglo African. The news caused the shares to soar 16.5% to 13.5p.

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