- Weaker sterling lifted the FTSE 100 ahead of the Bank of England's latest interest rate meeting on Thursday where rates are expected to remain unchanged.

The majority of blue-chips benefited from a dip in the pound when overseas earnings are translated into sterling.

The FTSE 100 traded 0.3% higher at 7,649 around 9am.

Among the biggest risers were cigarette seller British American Tobacco (BATS), up 1.8% at £38.47; and consumer goods colossus Unilever (ULVR), which gained 1.5% to £41.38.

Brent crude oil slipped 1% to $74 per barrel and gold fell 0.7% to $1,262 per ounce.


Electricals retailer Dixons Carphone (DC.) reported annual pre-tax profit fell 23.6% as the UK and Ireland mobile division faced headwinds, while margin growth in the electricals business slowed. Despite the drop in profit, shares in the retailer rose 1.9% to 194.4p.

Over 50s insurance provider Saga (SAGA) was flat at 127.9p after trading in line with expectations in the four months to 31 May 2018.

Rare diseases specialist Shire (SHP) revealed the US Food and Drug Administration approved a label expansion for CINRYZE, which helps prevent angioedema attacks in children over the age of six with hereditary angioedema. The stock received a 2.3% shot to £41.04.

Housebuilder Crest Nicholson (CRST) jumped 3% to 411.2p following a bullish broker note from Liberum which said the stock had been oversold following news of margin erosion.


Echo Energy (ECHO) rallied 20.2% to 14.8p on the discovery of a 'material and potentially transformational' light oil column in the emerging Tobifera play of its third well in Argentina.

Electro-mechanical group LPA (LPA) reported annual pre-tax profit rose 1.1% but investors focused on falling orders in electro-mechanical and weakness in the LED lighting division. The stock crashed 21.5% to 125.9p.

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