- Weakness among the banks and housebuilding stocks offset gains from some blue-chips that benefited from a dip in sterling.

High street bank Barclays (BARC) declined 0.6% to 192.5p and HSBC (HSBC) retreated by 0.8% to 720.9p.

Berkeley (BKG) was the worst hit among the housebuilders, down 2.3% at £38.03. It was followed by Barratt Developments (BDEV) with a 1.3% fall to 530.8p.

The FTSE was 5.9 points higher at 7,633 around midday.

Brent crude oil declined 1.6% to $73.52 per barrel.


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 3.8% to 197.9p, perhaps because there were no new negative surprises in the results.

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 2.2% boost to £40.99.

Housebuilder Crest Nicholson (CRST) jumped 1.2% to 403.7p following a bullish broker note from Liberum which said the stock had been oversold following news of margin erosion.


Dalradian Resources (DALR) agreed to be taken over by private equity business Orion Mine Finance, triggering a 52.1% rally to 81p.

Dunedin Smaller Companies Investment Trust (DNDL) agreed to merge with Standard Life UK Smaller Companies Trust (SLS).

Echo Energy (ECHO) rallied 17.4% to 14.5p 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 27.6% to 116.1p.

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