- Progress in resolving the war of words over trade between the US and China is being received very positively by the markets.

The S&P 500 was 1.6% higher around 4pm UK time at 2,654.62 and this helped the FTSE gain momentum, closing nearly 1% higher.

Elsewhere oil prices moved above $70 per barrel as geo-political tensions in Syria came to the fore. This supported BP (BP), up 2.2% to 504.2p, and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) up 2.2% to £24.23.

Mining stocks were also in demand after posting losses yesterday, Anglo American (AAL) gaining 4.9% to £16.89.

After a dismal period for the share price Capita (CPI) regained some ground, up 11.4% to 147.2p as Volkswagen extended an 11-year customer service contract with the outsourcer for an additional two years.


Budgets gifts-to-greetings cards seller Card Factory (CARD) gained 10% to 209.1p 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 2.6% to 682p 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 2.1% to 64.4p 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 12.3% to 36.5p after reinstating the dividend and stating that trading in 2018 is significantly ahead of 2017.

Banknote printer De La Rue (DLAR) firmed 2p to 502p 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) was flat at 744p 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 5% to 36p 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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