- Growing expectations that the Bank of England will increase interest rates in May lifted the pound, putting pressure on the FTSE 100.

Approximately 70% of earnings generated by the blue-chip index are from overseas, and their relative value is affected by movements in sterling.

Among the fallers was cigarette seller Imperial Brands (IMB) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

The FTSE fell 0.5% to 6,888.

Brent crude oil retreated 0.7% to $70 per barrel.


Investor sentiment recovered after trade war fears receded, helping the S&P 500 jump 0.6% to 2,604 around 4:45pm UK time.


M&A activity dominated the news today, starting with packaging firm Smurfit Kappa's (SKG) rejection of a higher takeover offer from US rival International Paper to the tune of €9bn. Its shares were down 4.1% at £29.32.

Engineer GKN (GKN) was flat at 431.5p despite retracting statements over the weekend that it had the support of shareholders to push back on a hostile bid from turnaround specialist Melrose (MRO). US-based Dana increased its offer by £100m to buy GKN's driveline business.

JD Sports (JD.) declined 4.7% to 339.2p despite announcing it will buy US trainer franchise The Finish Line for approximately £400m. Investors were excited as the deal should boost JD's presence across the Atlantic.

Car dealer Inchcape (INCH) reported the $284m acquisition of Central American distributor Grupo Rudelman, helping the stock accelerate 2.2% to 686.5p.


On AIM, investment group Shore Capital (SGR) ticked 4.5% higher to 256p after adjusted pre-tax profit jumped 27.5% to 6.5p and its dividend was hiked from 5p to 10p in 2017.

Restore (RST) revealed a £51.5m placing to fund the acquisition of record management specialist TNT Business Solutions for £88m. Shares in the office services provider rose 8% to 510p.

Equipment hire business Speedy Hire (SDY) said adjusted pre-tax profit will beat expectations in the year to 31 March 2018, prompting the shares to rally 8.1% to 52.2p.

IT solutions provider Instem (INS) sealed a contract extension to over $0.5m with an additional $0.5m contract award. The news sparked a 19.9% jump in the shares to 226p.

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