- Stronger financial firms and insurers lifted the FTSE 100 in a busy day for corporate news.

Old Mutual (OML) revealed full year results that beat expectations and hiked its dividend, helping its shares advance 0.7% to 252.8p.

Prudential (PRU) and HSBC (HSBA) were also among the top performers, enjoying gains of up to 1.3% each.

The FTSE was trading 0.1% higher at 7,141 around midday.

Brent crude oil was up 0.4% at $65.15 per barrel. Gold was flat at $1,324 per ounce and copper cheapened 0.6% to $3.12 per pound.


US President Donald Trump's threat of imposing $60bn of tariffs on imports from China weighed on investor sentiment in the US and China.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng was up 0.3% at 31,541 and Japan's Nikkei 225 was up 0.1% at 21,803.


A profit warning from Imperial Leather owner PZ Cussons (PZC) following difficult trading conditions in Nigeria and the UK caused the shares to crash 15.4% to 234.2p.

An upgrade from analysts at JP Morgan Cazenove for UK supermarket Tesco (TSCO) lifted the stock 2.9% to 216.5p.

Hikma (HIK) benefitted from a broker upgrade from Citi, pushing the shares 16% higher to £10.78.

Real estate investment trust Hammerson (HMSO) went into reverse after Credit Suisse turned negative on its outlook, dragging the shares 5.5% lower to 431.5p.

Onesavings Bank (OSB) warned that the costs of funds are expected to rise following the end of the Bank of England's Term Funding Scheme. The news overshadowed the bank beating expectations as the stock fell 4.3% to 388.6p.

Financial services group Just Group (JUST) ticked 1.3% higher to 136.8p after operating profit in 2017 smashed expectations thanks to lower costs from the Just Retirement and Partnership Assurance merger.

Higher debt at construction firm Kier (KIE) weighed on sentiment as the shares declined 2.6% to £10.50. Investors focused on rising debt due to investments in the property division instead of increasing sales and pre-tax profits in the second half of 2017.

Cinema chain and popcorn seller Cineworld (CINE) jumped 3.1% to 247.6p, driven by strong sales and profit growth in 2017.

Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) reported decent organic growth and says it plans to accelerate sales and capital investments for growth this year. The stock sparked 3.7% higher to £59.60.


The resignation of Autins' (AUTG) chief executive officer Michael Jennings triggered a 13.7% slump to 94p.

InterQuest (ITQ) said its 2017 performance was 'slightly behind' its expectations. Investors were spooked by falling profitability and earnings, causing the shares to fall 18.2% to 18p.

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