- London's FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 traded higher on Tuesday, up 38.62 points to 7,233.37 and 96.74 points to 19,581.09 respectively by lunchtime, as investors put aside growing geo-political tensions over Syria to focus on a softening tone from China on its trade dispute with the US.


Budgets gifts-to-greetings cards seller Card Factory (CARD) gained 4.2% to 198p on news of a decent start to the new financial year, buoyed by record performances on Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and Easter.

Results for the year to January are broadly in line with expectations, underlying profit before tax falling 5.5% to £80.5m due to rising wages and sterling weakness, yet there was relief as Card Factory confidently raised the total dividend by 2.2% to 9.3p and flags a 5p-to-10p special dividend to follow later this year.

Card Factory reiterates any EBITDA growth for the current year is likely to be limited.

Elsewhere, recruiter Robert Walters (RWA) fell 1.9% to 686.8p on news of a strong start to the year with gross profit (net fee income) up 17% to £88.5m in the first quarter to March. CEO Robert Walters said his charge is growing across regions and assured current trading is in line with market expectations.

Petra Diamonds (PDL) perked up 3.3% to 65.14p on relief it has agreed banking covenant changes with its lenders, giving the diamond producer financial breathing space as it emerges from a heavy investment phase.


Recruitment firm Hydrogen (HYDG:AIM) sparked up 7.9% to 35p after reinstating the dividend and stating that trading in 2018 is significantly ahead of 2017.

Banknote printer De La Rue (DLAR) firmed 4p to 504p following a Sky News report that activist investor Crystal Amber (CRS:AIM) is building a stake in the Basingstoke-headquartered concern.

Indonesian palm oil producer M.P. Evans (MPE:AIM) cultivated a 12p gain to 756p as chairman Peter Hadsley-Chaplin heralded a record year for crops, production and profit.

For the 2017 calendar year, operating profit surged 72% higher to US$34m and Hadsley-Chaplin expects M.P. Evans' crops to continue rising, notably from its projects in East Kalimantan, Bangka Island and South Sumatra.

Cadmium-free quantum dots maker Nanoco (NANO) cheapened 6% to 35.6p as first half results reveal a drop in sales from £820,000 to £260,000 and a chunky £4.8m loss before tax.

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