- Global markets continued to recover as fears over a trade war between the US and China cooled.

The FTSE jumped 1.9% higher to 7,018 around midday, supported by a rally in the mining sector.

Glencore (GLEN) strengthened 3.4% to 364.4p and Anglo American (AAL) rose 2.7% to £16.98. Rio Tinto (RIO) and BHP Billiton (BLT) chased its peers higher.

Oil major Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) was another notable riser, up 2.3% to £23.08.

Japan's Nikkei 225 enjoyed the highest gains in Asia, rallying 2.6% to 21,317 this morning and the S&P 500 in the US enjoyed a 2.7% sprint to 2,658 overnight.

Brent crude oil nudged 0.4% higher to $70.40 per barrel. Gold was stable at $1,354 per ounce and copper climbed 0.6% to $2.98 per pound.


Pharma colossus GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) received a 6.5% boost to £13.72 after agreeing to buy Novartis' 36.5% stake in their consumer healthcare business for $13bn.

Higher sales and profit at building materials distributor Ferguson (FERG) lifted the shares 4.5% to £53.64. The company also proposed a special dividend of $4 per share on top of a 10% hike in the interim dividend.

UK train and bus operator Stagecoach (SGC) reversed 1.1% to 129.7p after like-for-like sales growth in the bus divisions and North American operations declined.

IG (IGG) dropped 5.7% to 769.5p after announcing sales over the next two years will be lower than expected due to the impact of regulatory changes in the UK and EU.


Shares in accounting software specialist FreeAgent (FREE) catapulted 81% to 116.8p on a takeover offer from high street bank Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

Men's formalwear specialist Moss Bros (MOSB) decided to cut its final dividend following a 6.1% fall in pre-tax profit in the year to 27 January. The company blamed poor footfall in December and stock shortages from consolidating suppliers. The stock was flat at 46.8p.

McKay Securities (MCKS) agreed to pre-let 30 Lombard Street in London to wealth manager St James's Place (STJ). The real estate investment company is expected to benefit from a 14% rise in rental income from the deal, helping the shares advanced 5.2% to 261p.

Chippenham-based Alliance Pharma (APH) has delivered a strong organic performance, driven by sales growth from products under its International Star brand, Kelo-cote and MacuShield. Its shares gained 3.9% to 69.2p.

Gulf Marine Services (GMS) dipped 1.7% to 36.3p following a significant drop in sales and profits last year. Story provided by