- Shifting focus from concern over trade to a potentially strong US earnings season helped drive strength in global markets with the FTSE 100 also boosted by Brexit uncertainty inspired sterling weakness.

Approaching midday, the index of leading UK shares was up 0.5% at 7,686.10.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed within sight of its highest level in months at 24,924.89 and this was matched by strength in Asian markets overnight.


Ryanair gained 0.9% to €15.72 after European regulators approved its proposed acquisition of Laudamotion.

But the budget carrier also claimed that German carrier Lufthansa was attempting to 'destabilise and damage' the Austrian airline. Ryanair called on regulators to intervene to stop Lufthansa's alleged 'anti-competitive' behavior.

Support services group DCC rallied 3.8% to £71.65 on news it had acquired audio-visual products distributors Stampede and Kondor for a combined enterprise value of £110m, while saying first-quarter profit had risen as expected.

Recruitment group Hays jumped 7.7% to 206p after announcing its full-year operating profits would be 'marginally ahead' of market forecasts, buoyed by a strong showing overseas.

Cycling and motoring retailer Halfords gained 1.4% to 359.6p on news it hired former Waitrose finance director Loraine Woodhouse as its new chief financial officer.

Emerging markets specialist Ashmore Group gained 2.2% to 358.4p as higher net fund inflows helped soften the blow of a negative investment performance.

Shared workspace provider Workspace Group gained 1.6% to £10.95, even as it experienced a 5% fall in lettings during the first quarter. Customer enquiries, however, rose slightly and the company said it had completed three refurbishment and redevelopment projects in June.


Micro-cap oil and gas firm Solo Oil responded to news of a farm-out by partner Aminex on its Ruvuma asset in Tanzania in a wider corporate update. The shares were up 21.3% to 2.73p.

Residential property investor KCR Residential REIT lost 14.8% to 75p as investors reacted to the dilution implied by a £3,1m share placing at 70p.

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