StockMarketWire.com - Rising oil prices and a subdued pound kept the FTSE 100 in positive territory, rising 0.3% to 7,422 around midday.

Brent crude oil increased 0.2% to $74.89 per barrel.

Oil major BP (BP.) was up 1.4% at 528.9p. Shares in miners enjoyed an upwards trend with BHP Billiton (BLT) gaining 1.4% to £15.59 and Antofagasta (ANTO) advancing 1.1% to 967p.

OVERSEAS MARKETS

US banks failed to impress despite better than anticipated first quarter results. The Dow Jones and Nasdaq closed in the red and the S&P 500 was flat at 2,670 overnight.

MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Gambling firms William Hill (WMH), Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) and GVC (GVC) suffered share price losses amid media reports the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) will be cut to £2 a spin.

London Stock Exchange (LSE) unveiled higher quarterly income in an upbeat trading statement for the quarter to 31 March, but this failed to move the stock at £42.40.

Activist investor Elliott Capital has built a 5.1% stake in embattled software firm Micro Focus (MCRO), but Elliot's plans for the business are as yet unclear and the shares were flat at £13.24.

According to reports Metro Bank's (MTRO) shareholder Royal London Asset Management plans to oppose the re-appointment of Vernon Hill as chairman following £21m in payments to his wife's firm InterArch since 2010.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Fibre broadband network builder CityFibre (CITY) received a surprise cash offer from a consortium formed by Antin and West Street Infrastructure Partners after agreeing a £538m deal. Shares in CityFibre catapulted 88.6% to 79.2p.

A stronger pound hit Proactis' (PHD) performance in the US and Europe, causing the shares to plummet 43.1% to 108p.

Drug development company Redx (REDX) rallied 39.2% to 8.7p on the appointment of AstraZeneca (AZN) president Lisa Anson as chief executive officer from June.

Biotech firm Circassia (CIR) was up 3.7% after AstraZeneca announced it would increase its stake to a maximum of 19.9%, up from 14.2%.

Investors overlooked concerns that the UK government could intervene in Daily Mirror owner Trinity Mirror's (TNI) deal to buy the Express tabloids due to the potential impact on editorial decision making. Shares in Trinity Mirror nudged 1.2% higher to 83.6p.


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